4 Dec 2017

Rheumatic fever treatment receives more attention in NZ

6:57 am on 4 December 2017

A New Zealand university will be looking into generating a new type of penicillin injection to those who have had rheumatic fever.

Rheumatic fever treatment is given monthly to patients, who are predominantly young Pacific and Māori people.

A combination of crowded housing conditions, socio-economic deprivations and barriers to healthcare access are the common factors to why Pacific and Māori have higher rates of the fever.

Victoria University's Dianne Sika-Paotonu said the research hopes to reveal a new penicillin injection that will stop patients from getting rheumatic fever again as it can lead to permanent heart disease.

Dr Sika-Paotonu said the procedure of getting treated is difficult on the patient.

"They have to get these [injections] for at least 10 years, so it's not just a couple of injections and that's it and these are very painful injections that are delivered sort of on the upper thigh area and they hurt, so what it is that we are trying to do is that we're trying to make that penicillin and the way that it is delivered more acceptable to those who have to have the injection on a regular basis," she said.