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Public Information

A child’s untreated sore throat (‘strep throat’) can lead to rheumatic fever. 

Rheumatic fever is a serious preventable disease which may cause permanent heart damage.

You can help your whānau by understanding what rheumatic fever is and taking sore throats seriously.


Signs and Symptoms

Rheumatic fever often starts with a sore throat (a streptococcal infection).  A few weeks later, the following symptoms may develop:

  • sore or swollen joints
  • a skin rash
  • a fever
  • stomach pain
  • jerky movements
Take Sore Throats Seriously

By taking sore throats seriously, we can help prevent life long illness and suffering for our tamariki.

  • Stop sore throats hurting hearts. An untreated sore throat (‘strep throat’) can lead to rheumatic fever.
  • If a child complains of a sore throat make sure they are checked by a doctor.
  • If a ‘strep throat’ is diagnosed, the doctor will usually prescribe a 10 day course of antibiotics.
  • It is important to complete the whole 10 day course to prevent rheumatic fever from developing.
Throat Swabbing in Pharmacy for Eligible Māori or Pacific Peoples - 4-19 years old 
Otaika Pharmacy  Whangārei
Buchanan Pharmacy  Whangārei
Life Pharmacy Orrs (Cameron St) Whangārei
Unichem Orrs Pharmacy Ruakaka
Unichem Kerikeri Pharmacy  Kerikeri
Te Hau Ora O Ngāpuhi  Kaikohe
Paihia Pharmacy Paihia
Kawakawa Pharmacy Kawakawa


Rheumatic Fever is not Uncommon in Northland

Those most at risk of developing rheumatic fever are:

  • Children aged between 5 -15 years
  • Māori and Pacific (>95% of cases in Northland are Māori)
  • People who share a house with lots of others. 



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