22 Jul
Safety

Rheumatic fever – know the signs and stay healthy this winter

Published: 2016-07-22

Rheumatic fever is a serious but preventable illness. It starts with a sore throat known as ‘strep throat’. Most sore throats get better on their own, but if strep throat is not treated with antibiotics it can sometimes turn into rheumatic fever. The symptoms may disappear on their own, but the inflammation can cause life-threatening rheumatic heart disease.

Children and young people who have the highest risk of getting rheumatic fever are mainly Māori and Pacific aged between 4-19 years, living in some parts of the North Island.

If your child has a higher risk of getting rheumatic fever AND has a sore throat, it could be serious. Don’t ignore it. Take them to a doctor or nurse straight away to get checked out.

Rheumatic fever support

Information and tips

For more information about rheumatic fever check out this website rheumaticfever.health.govt.nz

Free health clinics

If you live in North Island areas with high rates of rheumatic fever and your child is Māori or Pacific and aged from 4 to 19, they can get their sore throat checked at a free sore throat clinic. They don't have to be enrolled or need an appointment.

You can call Healthline on 0800 611 116 to find a clinic near you.

Video tips

Check out some videos with tips about keeping your home warm and dry. The videos have been produced in English, Maori Samoan and Tongan. rheumaticfever.health.govt.nz/warmer-drier-homes