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Rheumatic fever is a serious condition that can lead to rheumatic heart disease. You can get rheumatic fever more than once. Learn what you can do to avoid getting rheumatic fever and protect your heart.

Rheumatic fever is a serious illness that can cause damage in your heart as well as swelling and pain in your elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. You may also notice a skin rash, fever or jerky movements. Over time, most of these symptoms will go away but any damage to your heart may stay.

Rheumatic fever starts with a sore throat caused by Group A Streptococcal bugs (bacteria) and if left untreated, it can cause rheumatic fever which may also damager your heart valves (rheumatic heart disease).

Heart valves play an important role in making sure blood flows in one direction through the heart. When blood starts flowing backward, it can cause problems throughout your body.

Rheumatic fever most frequently affects Māori and Pacific young people between the ages of 4 – 19 years.

Get every sore throat checked

The best way to prevent rheumatic fever is to go and see your doctor when you get a sore throat. If you have a ‘Strep throat’ with infection from Strep bugs, the doctor will give you 10 days worth of antibiotics. It is really important to take these antibiotics for the full 10 days, even if you start feeling better sooner than that. Visit to find out more about getting sore throats checked.