Free sore throat checks for tamariki most at risk of getting rheumatic fever are available at a number of local pharmacies and medical centres.

What is rheumatic fever?

Rheumatic fever is a serious but preventable illness. It mainly affects Māori and Pacific tamariki and rangatahi (aged 4 and above), especially if they have other whānau 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 develop into rheumatic fever where the heart, joints, brain and skin become inflamed and swollen.

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

Free sore throat clinics

Free sore throat clinics are available to people at high risk of developing rheumatic fever who live in Hutt Valley or Porirua.

Free sore throat checks, are available in Hutt Valley or Porirua to:

  • Māori and Pacific tamariki and rangatahi, aged 4 to 19 years-old
  • Anyone aged 4 to 19 years-old with a family history of rheumatic fever
  • Anyone living in crowded circumstances

Otherwise you can go to your family doctor or nurse to get a sore throat checked but you may have to pay a fee. Call your family doctor to check if you are eligible for a free throat check.

What does the service provide?

A nurse or pharmacist will check your child’s sore throat, take their temperature and note other symptoms like a cough or runny nose.

Your child will be offered antibiotic treatment if their symptoms indicate a strep throat infection rather than a cold. Tamariki and rangatahi with a sore throat caused by a cold usually have a cough, hoarseness, red eyes, and runny nose (usually not seen with strep throat). For this reason these patients will not be offered antibiotic treatment.

He Whare Taonga - Healthy Housing 

He Whare Taonga is designed to support whānau to live in a warm, dry and safe home.

He Whare Taonga links whānau to services such as insulation, heating, curtains, beds, bedding, carpets, rugs, financial assistance and social housing providers. Well Homes supports whānau 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 our He Whare Taonga page.

Further information

See more information on sore throats and rheumatic fever at the Te Whatu Ora website.

Last updated 6 November 2023.