Thanks to our researchers we now have the first robust evidence that supports community initiatives to prevent acute rheumatic fever.
Globally rheumatic fever is a disease related to poverty in developing countries and, left untreated, can lead to the disabling effects of rheumatic heart disease in children.
In New Zealand it affects mostly Māori and Pacific Island children in low-socioeconomic areas with high incidents in Northland and South Auckland. It affects mainly primary school age children and peaks with nine to 10 year olds.
Lead researcher and clinician, Professor Diana Lennon published a paper in the latest Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal which states that until now, treatment to prevent rheumatic fever in children was derived from studies in adults in the American armed forces.
This new breakthrough in research used data collected, from providing access to sore throat management to more than 25,000 children per year in 61 South Auckland primary schools between 2010 and 2016.
The programme itself is delivered by an alliance of health providers led by the National Hauora Coalition. The research was funded by a partnership grant arising from a joint venture between the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Ministry of Health, Te Puni Kōkiri, CureKids and the Heart Foundation.
Read about their new prevention model and the sore throat programme in schools.