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Burden of Disease

In New Zealand, the majority of Rheumatic Fever cases affect children between 5 and 14 years old. 

In those <30 years old, Maori are almost 20 times, and Pacific peoples are at least 44 times more likely to get Rheumatic Fever than people of European or other ethnicities.

Between 2000 and 2018, 93% of initial rheumatic fever cases in those aged <30 affected Maori or Pacific peoples.

Previous and current strategies have been implemented to raise awareness about Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease:

  • School-based sore throat clinics

  • Health promotion campaigns. 

Despite these efforts, the incidence of Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease remains high.

Rheumatic fever is a notifiable disease in New Zealand, meaning all cases must be reported to the ESR and recorded on a clinical register to ensure appropriate follow-up and treatment. ESR works with the Ministry of Health to collate and provide statistics and information on reported rheumatic fever cases in New Zealand, which can be found Here.


Bennett, J., Zhang, J., Leung, W., Jack, S., Oliver, J., Webb, R....Baker, M. G. (2021). Rising Ethnic Inequalities in Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease, New Zealand, 2000–2018. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(1), 36-46.

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