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Whether a painful strep throat turns into a fatal case of heart disease depends not just on prompt antibiotic treatment but also on the patient’s genetic makeup, according to a new study led by Oxford University scientists. The discovery could help the long fight to find a vaccine against Group A streptococcus bacteria, which cause strep throat, scarlet fever and rheumatic heart disease. The Oxford study, published in Nature Communications this month, was done in Fiji, New Caledonia and other South Pacific islands “because it’s one of the top reasons young people die there,” said Dr. Tom Parks, lead author and part of Prof Adrian Hill's genetics group which studies genetic susceptibility to infectious diseases.