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Title: Use of the Jones Criteria in the diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever in an Australian rural setting.
Authors: Stewart T
McDonald R
Currie BJ
Citation: Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 2005-12; 29(6): 526-9
Abstract: To answer the question, are the Jones Criteria being used appropriately in the diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) by non-specialist medical staff in a remote Australian setting? The medical records of all patients discharged from Katherine Hospital (Northern Territory) with a diagnosis of ARF between January 2000 and April 2004 were retrospectively reviewed for adherence to the Jones Criteria. Data were also collected on specialist follow-up and need for transfer to a tertiary hospital. Twenty-five patients had a diagnosis of ARF and all were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Thirty-two per cent did not fulfil the Jones Criteria and of these 63% were recurrent cases. Eighty-eight per cent received specialist follow-up and of those who did not fulfil the Jones Criteria, all were diagnosed as ARF by the specialist. Only 20% required transfer to a tertiary hospital for higher-level care. The Jones Criteria are being used appropriately to diagnose initial episodes of ARF but less successfully in recurrent episodes. Specialist follow-up is essential but acute episodes can be managed in remote settings, reducing the need to transfer patients to tertiary care with resultant patient dislocation and social isolation. The diagnosis of ARF results in long-term penicillin prophylaxis. This is a major public health undertaking that requires correct diagnosis. This study demonstrates that the Jones Criteria are being used appropriately to diagnose ARF in a remote setting. The ability to diagnose and treat Indigenous patients within their local region reduces social isolation and creates a more positive health care experience.
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Journal title: Australian and New Zealand journal of public health
Publication Date: 2005-12
ISSN: 1326-0200
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:(a) NT Health Research Collection

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