Sore Throat

Sore Throat

Meet Tristan and Justin. The 11-year-old twins know first hand that a sore throat left untreated can lead to rheumatic fever.

The Katoa twins and their rheumatic fever story

11-year-old twins, Tristan and Justin, know first hand that an untreated sore throat can lead to rheumatic fever. 
Transcript available at the Ministry of Health website


Tristan's rheumatic fever led to open heart surgery

The 11-year-old twins in the video, Tristan and Justin, know first hand that a sore throat left untreated can lead to rheumatic fever. Justin avoided rheumatic fever. He had a throat swab which showed his strep throat and he completed a course of antibiotics. Unfortunately for Tristan, a case of rheumatic fever led to open heart surgery.

Rheumatic fever can start with a sore throat

Rheumatic fever starts with a sore throat that is known as 'strep throat' - a throat infection caused by a bacteria called Group A streptococcus.

Most sore throats get better on their own, but if strep throat is not treated with antibiotics it can cause rheumatic fever in at-risk children.

Check every time your child has a sore throat if they are at risk

Because rheumatic fever is such a serious illness, all sore throats in Māori and Pacific children and young people (aged 3 and above) need checking.

If your at-risk child has strep throat, they'll need antibiotics to clear up the infection before it can develop into rheumatic fever.

If your child is taking antibiotics, it's important that they take the full 10-day course to stop them from developing rheumatic fever.

Watch Tonielle Shaw, 12, share her battle with rheumatic fever. She reports on how school clinics are now reducing cases in her region (KEA Kids News)

Find out about checking your child's sore throat

Watch more videos on sore throats and rheumatic fever

Check some more information about sore throats

Keeping your home warm and dry

Keep your home warm and dry, and create as much space as possible to spread out around your home (rather than having to crowd in the same room).

Having more warm rooms and more sleeping spaces available means germs like strep throat are less likely to spread.

For tips that can make your home cheaper to heat and more comfortable to live in, see 'Keeping your home warm and dry'. Even following just a couple of will help protect your family from health problems.

Check some suggestions for keeping your home warm and dry

This page last reviewed 05 March 2021.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it