One of the basic problems in the administration of a program for handicapped children is that of early case finding, that is, how to identify cases at an early stage so that treatment and preventive measures may be promptly instituted.
In the case of rheumatic fever, a familial susceptibility has been said for many years to have existed. It was therefore decided to apply this well-known epidemiological fact to discover "new" cases of rheumatic fever.
All children and youths under the age of 20 years who died in 1954 and whose deaths on the death certificates were attributed to rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease were used for the study.
A study form was devised.
A public health nurse visited the family at home approximately three months after the patient's death and completed the study form.
The data on the study forms were then tabulated