What Is Rheumatic Fever?
Rheumatic fever is a serious illness that affects the valves of the heart. It starts with a specific type of sore throat called Group A streptococcal (GAS) infection. It mainly affects children or teenagers.

Key points

  • A few weeks after infection with the 'strep bug' your child may develop other symptoms such as sore or swollen joints.

  • Each attack of rheumatic fever may cause permanent damage to their heart valves. This is called Rheumatic heart disease.

  • It is very important that your child does not get rheumatic fever again.

  • The best way to stop your child having another attack of Rheumatic fever, is to make sure they have regular Penicillin injections - on time.

  • Māori, Pacific children and young adults (aged 4-19 years) have the highest rates of Rheumatic fever. 

Group A Streptococcal (GAS)
First episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, annual rate per 100,000, Māori and Pacific people, 2011–2015