Rheumatic fever

This review aims to summarise what we know about the processes that lead to group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection, acute rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Aotearoa New Zealand.

It has been produced by the OPMCSA, supported by an expert panel, and has been provided to the Ministry of Health to inform their rheumatic fever workstream. It has a primary focus on the Aotearoa New Zealand knowledge base and lessons learned from previous initiatives, but places this in an international context where appropriate. It does not contain recommendations.

Download the full evidence synthesis (PDF, 2MB)

Download the executive summary (PDF, 515KB)

The areas covered in the full report are:

  • How GAS infection leads to RF and RHD, including emerging evidence of the possible role of skin infections.
  • The global context for RF and RHD, including Aotearoa New Zealand’s position within this context.
  • How GAS infection, RF and RHD are monitored in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Current rates and trends of GAS infection, RF and RHD in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Data on the uneven burden of RF and RHD affecting Māori and Pacific peoples, including evidence for the drivers of these inequities.
  • Indirect risk factors associated with RF.
  • Lived experience of people with RF and RHD and their whānau.
  • The financial and social costs of the high disease burden.
  • The range of interventions that have been tried and whether there is evidence of effectiveness.
  • Future developments in this area, including vaccines, new diagnostic tools and drug development/reformulation.
  • Research priorities to fill in knowledge gaps.
  • AMR considerations associated with treatment and prevention of these diseases.
Infographic showing how GAS disease progresses