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Havelock North area affected by gastro illness

Havelock North residents are being urged to boil water as a vomiting and diarrhoea outbreak affects a number of people in the area.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said while the source of the outbreak hadn’t been confirmed there was a possibility that the cause of the illness was from the water.

“We want to prevent any further illness, which is why we are taking such significant precautionary measures and encouraging everyone in the Havelock North area to boil water over the weekend or until the cause of the outbreak was determined.

“Boiling the water was the only certain way to kill all the bugs that might be causing the illness,” Dr Jones said.

Hastings District Council had also chlorinated the water this afternoon as another precautionary measure. However until the type of infection had been determined it was recommended to take the extra step and boil water, for a minute, before drinking it.

The institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) would be working over the weekend to identify where the contamination had come from and what the illness was caused by. Potentially the significant rain event from last weekend may have contaminated the supply and further testing was underway.  

Dr Jones said as the illness was widespread in the Havelock North area it was unlikely to have come from a food source and water borne illness was more likely, however testing would determine the exact cause.

Symptoms of the illness being reported were diarrhoea and influenza like symptoms; headaches, muscle pain, fever and feeling generally unwell. Symptoms could last up to 10 days but would usually get better without antibiotics.

Children and older people were most at risk of dehydration and fluids while the diarrhoea lasted was very important. More information is available from http://www.ourhealthhb.nz/assets/News-and-Event-files/HE1211-Campylobacter-WEB.pdf or people could also call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice 24/7 from a trained registered nurse.

For information on the water supply contact Hastings District Council call 06 871 5000

For further information please contact:

Anna Kirk

Anna.kirk@hbdhb.govt.nz

Communication Manager

Hawke's Bay District Health Board

Telephone: (06) 873 2150 or (027) 234 3667

1 February 2019

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