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Sore throats

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. 

Get a sore throat checked right away. Don't ignore it.

A sore throat can also be a symptom of COVID-19.  Call Healthline on 0800 611 116, or your doctor or nurse, to arrange to have it checked. 

For information about school based throat swabbing programmes in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes click here.


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

Although these symptoms may disappear, the heart valves may be permanently damaged – this is called Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD).

Rheumatic fever is not uncommon in the Bay of Plenty. Those most at risk of developing rheumatic fever are:

  • children aged between 4-19 years

  • Maori and Pacific

  • people who share a house with lots of others

For further information on rheumatic fever, click on the links below:

Or contact Lindsay Lowe, Rheumatic Fever Co-ordinator (07) 577 3790 or email

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