Symposium tackles rheumatic fever and heart disease

Caption: Dr Nigel Wilson of Starship Hospital

Latest News 26 August 2019 | Counties Manukau Health hosted more than 120 clinicians and researchers, several from overseas, for a recent symposium on rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

The event, aimed at reviewing progress and looking at future approaches to rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in New Zealand, was also attended by more than 50 CM Health staff, representatives from local primary healthcare organisations and patients and whaanau.

Associate Professor Dr Nigel Wilson of Starship Hospital acknowledged the presence of patients and whaanau in the audience, noting the importance of their input to discussions. 

The incidence of Rheumatic Fever continues to increase, with Pacific Island children being disproportionately affected, according to CM Health paediatrician Rachel Webb. CM Health has the largest number of rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart disease cases of any DHB in New Zealand, she says. Currently there are 726 people within Counties Manukau on long-term penicillin treatment and approximately 550 people have had heart valve surgery for severe rheumatic heart disease.

The symposium covered topics such as cause, spread, and the development of a national rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease patient register, as well as how to involve the community in prevention and control activities.

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