Reducing rheumatic fever

How are we doing?

In the 12 months ending on 30 June 2021, there were 107 people diagnosed for the first time with rheumatic fever in New Zealand. 

First episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, annual rate per 100,000, New Zealand, 2002/03-2020/21

This graph shows the rate of people admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever for the first time from 2002/03 to 2020/21.

First episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, annual rate per 100,000, by ethnic group, New Zealand, 2011/12 – 2020/21

This graph shows the rate of Māori and Pacific people admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever for the first time between 2011/12 and 2020/21.

There has been no change in the rate of Māori admitted to hospital for the first time with rheumatic fever since 2016/17.

Although there was no change in hospitalisations for Pacific people between 2011/12 to 2019/20, there has been a large decrease (a two thirds reduction) in the incidence between 2019/20 to 2020/21.

The following table shows the numbers and rates of people being admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever for the first time in 2020/21 by age group. It shows that the majority of cases continue to occur in children between 5 and 14 years.

First episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, rate per 100,000, by age group, 2020/21

 

Numbers

Rate per 100,000

0–4 years

5

1.6

5–14 years

72

10.9

15–24 years

15

2.3

25–44 years

11

0.8

45+ years

4

0.2

Rheumatic fever rates in 2020/21 for District Health Board

The table below details the rheumatic fever rates in 2020/21 for District Health Board.

District Health Board

Rate per 100,000

Northland

6.7

Waitemata

1.6

Auckland

1.2

Counties Manukau

3.7

Waikato

3.4

Lakes

5.1

Bay of Plenty

3.0

Hauora Tairāwhiti

Taranaki

0

Hawke’s Bay

3.9

Midcentral

2.1

Whanganui

0

Capital & Coast

Hutt Valley

Wairarapa

0

Southern region

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. 

In May 2019, the Government allocated $12 million over 4 years to improve the prevention and management of rheumatic fever, primarily in the Auckland region where most cases occur. 

This $12 million is in addition to the $5 million allocated per year to the 11 DHBs with a high incidence of rheumatic fever 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.

Back to top