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Charactieristics of S. pyogenes isolated prior to rheumatic fever diagnosis

60 months
Approved budget:
Dr Julie Bennett
Health issue:
Infectious disease
Proposal type:
Emerging Researcher First Grant
Lay summary
Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and its serious complication rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are preventable diseases triggered by the bacterium S. pyogenes, more commonly known as a group A strep. NZ has unacceptably high rates of ARF in Māori and Pacific children, which cause unnecessary suffering and death. Despite the knowledge that ARF is a disease with a known triggering agent, there are no vaccines available for group A strep infections. NZ has a unique opportunity for rheumatic fever research, having a large stock of group A strep isolates, collected from children with pharyngitis and skin infections. This combined with our high rates of ARF, provides researchers the ability to intercept isolates prior to a person developing ARF. Findings from this pilot study will provide critical knowledge about the pathophysiology of ARF as well as guiding vaccine development efforts.