New project tackles rheumatic fever
Tue, 23 Oct 2012 6:22p.m.
By Charlotte Shipman
Wellington's District Health Board and Auckland's Starship Hospital are tackling a child health problem which is hardly heard of in other developed countries.
It's rheumatic fever, typically found in poorer, third world countries - but in Porirua it's a problem.
In the Wellington area, around six to 10 children develop severe rheumatic fever each year.
“Of those six to 10 children, we've had a least one every year who's needed to go up to Auckland acutely to have surgery on their heart,” says paediatric doctor Fiona Perelini.
Rheumatic fever is triggered by an untreated strep throat infection.
The Healthy Hearts Project is funded by the Capital and Coast DHB and Starship, and aims to pick up those children who have mild to moderate rheumatic heart disease.
The study will involve eight decile one-to-four schools in the Porirua area over the next nine days
Porirua has one of the country's highest rates of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.
“This is a disease of deprivation. Over crowded homes, poor housing, poor access to healthcare,” says Dr Perelini.
Any children who have an abnormal scan will be given a free follow up appointment at Kenepuru Hospital.
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