Word spread, not fever
Kids are spreading the word about rheumatic fever.
Students from Tamaki College and Mt Roskill Grammar School have created short films to raise awareness about the disease in a project spearheaded by the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.
Rheumatic fever is a serious disease caused by an untreated strep throat infection.
In most cases, treatment of the initial infection would stop rheumatic fever developing.
Pacific Island and Maori children are particularly at risk. Sixty per cent of Auckland’s cases are Pacific Islanders and 35 per cent are Maori.
A throat swabbing initiative, involving students aged 5 to 14 in East Auckland, was introduced last year to identify and treat cases of Group A streptococcus before it can develop into rheumatic fever.
Tamaki College nurse Tania Crothall says the number of students developing rheumatic fever at the school has dropped since throat swabbing was introduced.
‘‘I think the message is starting to get through.
‘‘Kids see the posters around and they know that we have to be proactive and are able to treat students at school.’’
Crothall says the short films are a great way to get young people to think seriously about the disease.
The Government has set a target of reducing the rates of rheumatic fever by two-thirds by 2017.
It is investing more than $65 million over six years to fight the disease.
Go to centralleader. co.nz and click on Latest Edition to watch Mt Roskill Grammar’s short film.