Previous BPS target: Reduce rheumatic fever

Between 2012 and June 2017, the Better Public Services (BPS) target was to reduce rheumatic fever by two-thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000 people.

How did we do?

By December 2016, rheumatic fever cases in New Zealand had fallen by 23%. This represents a drop from 177 people in 2012 to 137 people in 2016.

First episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, annual rate per 100,000, New Zealand, 2002–2016

While rates since 2013 have generally trended downwards, close to the goal, there was an upward spike in 2016.

Source: National Minimum Dataset

The graph above shows the rate of people admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever for the first time from 2002 to 2016.

First episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, annual rate per 100,000, Māori and Pacific people, 2011–2016

While rates for Māori have trended down roughly matching the goal, the downward trend for Pacific people reversed in 2015.

Source: National Minimum Dataset
Note that the graph shown on this page differs from that shown previously as it only includes financial year data

The graph above shows the rate of Māori and Pacific people admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever for the first time between 2011 and 2016.

The following table shows the numbers and rates of people being admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever for the first time in 2016 by age group. It shows that the majority of cases occur in children less than 14 years old.

Age group Number Rate (per 100,000)
0–14 years 85 9.3
15–44 years 48 2.6
45+ years 4 0.2

Source: National Minimum Dataset.

The table below details the rheumatic fever rates in 2009/10–2011/12 and in 2016 (the latest available data).

District health board 2009/10–2011/12 (rate per 100,000) 2016 (rate per 100,000)
Northland 10.5 2.4
Waitemata 2.2 3.1
Auckland 3.3 5.4
Counties Manukau 13.6 7.9
Waikato 3.5 1.0
Lakes 7.8 5.8
Bay of Plenty 3.8 4.0
Hauora Tairāwhiti 8.5
Taranaki 0.9
Hawke's Bay 4.4 2.5
MidCentral 1.8 2.3
Whanganui 3.2 0
Capital & Coast 3.1 2.3
Hutt Valley 4.9 2.8
Wairarapa 0 0
Southern region  0.5 0.6

Source: National Minimum Dataset

Note: Rates have not been calculated where there were fewer than four cases. This is because the small numbers will result in unreliable estimates of rates.

Where to from here?

Rheumatic fever prevention will continue to be a focus for the 11 DHBs with a high incidence of rheumatic fever.

The government has allocated $5 million per year over the next 5 years to these 11 DHBs so they can continue to deliver a balanced mix of rheumatic fever prevention activities to address rheumatic fever and reduce rheumatic fever rates.

Downloads

You can download the data tables for first episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations. Rates and numbers are available for the New Zealand population, by ethnic group and for district health board. The workbook also includes the data definition that is used to calculate first episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations.

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