March 08, 2017
Research confirms school throat clinics work
New research from the University of Auckland has confirmed New Zealand's initiatives to prevent acute rheumatic fever are working.
In a paper published online in the latest Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, lead researcher and clinician, Professor Diana Lennon says previous treatment to prevent rheumatic fever in children was derived from studies in adults in the American armed forces.
To counter an epidemic of rheumatic fever in New Zealand affecting mostly Maori and Pacific Island children in low-socioeconomic areas, a regime of sore throat management was developed.
Data from more than 25,000 children a year in 61 south Auckland primary schools between 2010 and 2016 showed first presentation of acute rheumatic fever is preventable in a community setting using oral Amoxicillin.
Over two years of running the sore throat clinics, the rates of rheumatic fever dropped 58 percent, from 88 in 100,000 children to 37 in 100,000 children.
Professor Lennon says the research supports the continuation of school clinics already underway in Northland, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and other regions around New Zealand.
Heart damage from rheumatic fever reduces the life span of Maori adults by more than 10 years.
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