Overcrowding and Rheumatic Fever link confirmed

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(Source | Waatea News) Otago University researchers say the rheumatic fever that is killing more than 100 Maori and Pacific islanders every year, and leaving hundreds of others with damaged hearts, is almost totally preventable.

Richard Jaine and Michael Baker looked at all cases of the disease in the 10 years to 2005, and found Maori were 20 times more likely to get it than Europeans, and Pacific islanders 40 times more likely.

Dr Jaine says the risk was increased by over-crowded housing and high fees which put people off going to see a doctor when they first showed signs of strep throat.

We found a clear association between household crowding and acute rheumatic fever rates. If you have an area with high amounts of overcrowding in households, then you have high levels of rheumatic fever. Were hypothesizing that the reason for this could be the fact that the strep throat infectious disease is being transmitted among household members when there are overcrowded conditions, Dr Jaine says.

The only other place in the world with similar rates of infection is in Australian Aboriginal communities.

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