Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease are inflammatory diseases that occur after infection with group A streptococcus (GAS). The bacterial infection causes the immune system to start attacking the body, creating an autoimmune disorder. Both diseases can occur at the same time.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease.
It is estimated that 12 million people are affected worldwide by rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, with 380,000 deaths annually from rheumatic heart disease (Source: WHO, 2000). These diseases are a major health concern in developing countries and Indigenous populations, especially Australia’s Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory who have the highest recorded incidence worldwide (Source: AIWH, 2006).
Our research focuses on:
- identifying possible targets for treatments against streptococcal infection
- developing a vaccine against S. pyogenes, a group A streptococcus.
Research groups involved in rheumatic fever research: