Topic: Health

Health experts work towards preventing rheumatic fever

Preventing and controlling rheumatic fever across New Zealand and Australia is the main focus of a meeting to be held.

Leading health researchers and practitioners are gathering at a one-day seminar at the University of Otage campus in Wellington.

One of the speakers is leading rheumatic fever researcher Professor Jonathan Carapetis from the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth. He depicts the strong link between New Zealand and Australia as two of the only developed countries that still have significant rates of rheumatic fever. 

Meeting organiser, Professor Michael Baker says, “New Zealand and Australia must collaborate more to find ways to tackle the third- world disease of rheumatic fever. We can share knowledge about what works, and progress the development of a vaccine and other longer-term strategies.”

In 2015, it appeared that the New Zealand’s Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme (RFPP) is having a positive impact, with a 40 percent decline in the incidence of new cases of rheumatic fever in children across New Zealand.

“Today we will look at which aspects of New Zealand’s prevention programme are having the most effect in reducing the incidence of this disease.” says Professor Baker.

Twenty two speakers will be attending, making it one of the largest gatherings of experts assembled in New Zealand to discuss the prevention of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.