Sore Throat Swab Service

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Rheumatic Fever Pharmacy Rapid Response Sore Throat Service

Thirty four Bay of Plenty pharmacies are now providing FREE, no appointment necessary sore throat swabbing and antibiotic treatment for eligible children and young adults age 4 to 19 years. The aim of this service is to try to detect and treat Group A Streptococcal sore throat infections (GAS).  GAS infections can lead to Rheumatic fever so by quickly and easily identifying these infections in susceptible populations we could prevent major health complications in  the future.   

 All sore throats in children and young adults aged 4 to 19 years who are Maori or Pacific Island  or children( any ethnicity ) living in homes with lots of other people or certain areas of the Bay of Plenty should be checked straight away. Even a mild sore throat or hoarse voice may be a GAS infection. If you are unsure if you qualify please visit one of the listed pharmacies and talk to our friendly pharmacists and technicians for advice.  

If a child is found to have a GAS infection the pharmacy will invite eligible family members and household contacts aged 3 to 35 years in to be assessed and treated if necessary.

Rheumatic Fever is a serious but preventable illness which can start with a sore throat called ‘ Strep throat’  Group A Streptococcus ( GAS ).  Most sore throats do not lead to serious illness  but in a small group of people a GAS infection can develop into Rheumatic Fever. Rheumatic Fever is an autoimmune condition which affects peoples joints (ankles, wrists, knees, elbows ), skin, brains and hearts causing them to become swollen and inflamed. While Rheumatic fever symptoms can disappear on their own the inflammation caused by one attack of rheumatic fever can cause rheumatic fever heart disease. Rheumatic fever heart disease can be life threatening and can damage your child’s heart forever making it necessary for them to have heart surgery. Rheumatic fever is most common in Maori or Pacific Island children and those who share their homes with lots of others but could develop in anyone with an untreated GAS infection. 

For more information on Rheumatic Fever follow this link to the Ministry of Health’s website: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/rheumatic-fever

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