24 May 2011

Specialist calls for sore throat awareness campaign

12:44 pm on 24 May 2011

A children's heart specialist is calling for a national campaign to raise awareness of sore throats which could lead to rheumatic fever.

The Government promised in last week's Budget a $12 million boost to rheumatic fever programmes.

Starship Hospital paediatric cardiologist Nigel Wilson says that's hugely overdue, as about 170 mostly Maori and Pacific Island people die of the fever in New Zealand every year.

He says families need to realise that a sore throat can in fact be a serious problem.

Dr Wilson would also like to see the $12 million used to roll out throat swabbing programmes in schools to test children for the disease.