The number of people seeking help for the gastro illness is continuing to increase.

Yesterday 183 people presented to a GP, and Hawke's Bay Hospital had 11 people present overnight, two were admitted, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board has said.

Hawke's Bay Hospital now has 19 patients who have been admitted into hospital for further care. Two people remain in a critical condition in Intensive Care.

All results returned from people with the bug were positive for campylobacter, however a boil-all-water notice will remain in place until the HBDHB is confident there is no other bug resistant to chlorination in the water - which is expected to take several days.

Hastings District Council said it would like to assure the community that water throughout the Flaxmere and Hastings areas was clear of any contaminants and these areas were isolated from the Havelock North water supply.

The chlorination of the Havelock North supply continued to eliminate the campylobacter bug.

Campylobacter cannot be spread through the air but could be spread by swallowing the bacteria. This may be from contaminated water and food, or from contact with infected people, so hand washing was extremely important.

Hands need to be washed thoroughly by using plenty of soap, cleaning under fingernails, rinsing hands well and drying on a clean towel, especially before and after preparing food, after going to the toilet or changing a baby's nappy, after caring for people with campylobacter, and after playing or working with animals.

Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said gastroenteritis bugs such as campylobacter affected older and younger people much more severely and older people needed to seek medical help early on if they weren't getting better or couldn't keep fluids down.

The same applied to young children.

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.

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- 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 5