Rheumatic fever is a serious but preventable illness. It mainly affects Māori and Pacific children and young people (aged 4 and above), especially if they have other family members who have had rheumatic fever.

Rheumatic fever starts with a sore throat that is known as ‘strep throat’ – a throat infection caused by a bacteria called Group A Streptococcus.

Most sore throats get better on their own, but if strep throat is not treated with antibiotics it can cause rheumatic fever in at-risk children.

Because rheumatic fever is such a serious illness, all sore throats in Māori and Pacific children and young people (aged 4 and above) need to be checked.

If your child has a sore throat it is important to contact your family doctor or call the Healthline on 0800 611 116 to speak to a registered nurse for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Sore throat clinics

Free sore throat clinics are offered in areas where there is a high incidence of rheumatic fever.  Sore throat clinics are available to Māori and Pacific Island children aged between 4-19 years.  To find a sore throat clinic near you call Healthline on 0800 611 116.  Your child's school may also offer a free sore throat clinic - check with your school.

Ministry of Health | Sore Throat Clinics

Well Homes

Well Homes links whānau to appropriate services such as insulation, heating, curtain banks, beds, bedding, carpets, rugs, financial assistance and social housing providers. Simple cost-effective solutions are part of the plan e.g. whānau get white vinegar and a cloth to help with cleaning mould. Well Homes supports whanau who hold a community services card and have a child or children who have a respiratory condition.  To find out if your family is eligible for support visit the Well Homes | Housing page on this website.

Regional Public Health | Well Homes 

Rheumatic Fever Prevention Plan

The three DHB's across the greater Wellington sub-region (Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast) have produced a single Sub-regional Rheumatic Fever Prevention Plan in 2013. The 2013 plan covers the period from October 2013 to 30 June 2017, and has now been updated.

Sub-regional Rheumatic Fever Prevention Plan

Further information

Further information on sore throats and rheumatic fever is available by visiting the following websites:

Ministry of Health | Rheumatic Fever

Last updated 5 March 2020.