Rheumatic fever in the perspective of public health

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      Dr. Taran: Rheumatic fever was discussed in the perspective of public health. It was pointed out that the obvious criteria which shape public health practice are mortality, morbidity and the age group in which morbidity and mortality tend to focus themselves. Applying these criteria to rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, this disease becomes evident as a most burdensome public health problem. Factors which shape public health practice in rheumatic fever as in other diseases were described in detail. The relatively scant scientific knowledge available for the prevention or control of the disease, the difficulties in applying scientific knowledge at hand, legal-sociologic deterrents and prohibitions and lack of public interest and support may be factors responsible for influencing the official and voluntary public agencies from mobilization of their forces in the combat of rheumatic disease. Yet, viewing rheumatic fever in perspective with other public health problems, it was concluded that quantitatively and qualitatively it is one of the most serious; that it does not receive from society attention comparable to its importance; that the public's interest and support is not likely to be aroused without a careful development and maintenance of a program of health education and publicity nation wide in coverage under the expert guidance of professionals in the field of public relations. The education of the public must guard against the creation of hysteria. The aim is to develop in the public not proficiency in diagnosis of rheumatic disease, but rather an understanding of the measures which are necessary to control this illness.
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