Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is an autoimmune disease triggered by Streptococcus A, a bacterium that can cause infection in various parts of the body, including the throat (strep throat), brain, joints, skin, subcutaneous tissues and the heart.
ARF and its complication, Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), is a major health problem for Indigenous Australians and New Zealand Māori and Pacific peoples. There is no diagnostic laboratory test for ARF, so diagnosis is currently based on associated symptoms and signs. A test for ARF, and targeted treatments that reduce development of RHD, would be beneficial for affected populations globally. The causal pathway from Strep A to RHD is shown in Figure 1.