Reports of gastro illness not linked: Health board

By Victoria White -
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Cases of gastro illness followed up by the HBDHB last week are not thought to be connected.
Cases of gastro illness followed up by the HBDHB last week are not thought to be connected.

Cases of gastro illness have been reported in Hawke's Bay, however they are not thought to be connected.

In August, 5200 people were ill with campylobactor - a form of gastroenteritis - after the Havelock North water supply was contaminated.

Last week, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board's public health unit followed up reports of a gastro illness circulating in the community.

Schools, early childhood centres, and GPs were contacted as part of the surveillance effort, to see if there was any common cause which the cases might be linked to.

Director of population health HBDHB, Dr Caroline McElnay, said there was a slight increase in gastro illness reported at some daycare centres and schools last week, but not from the same areas.

There was no common link identified, however public health would continue to be vigilant, she said.

Overall general practice had not seen any increase in gastro illness and neither had the Hawke's Bay Hospital emergency department.

Dr McElnay said it was important to note both the Havelock North and Hastings reticulated water systems were now chlorinated, which would kill most of the common water-borne diseases in those areas.

As more "tummy bugs" circulated during summer, this was a timely reminder of food safety.

During the warmer months extra care needed to be taken when preparing, and cooking food, as well as ensuring it was properly covered and chilled.

With warm, moist conditions summer was the ideal situation for pathogens to multiply quickly and cause food poisoning.

Some foods, like raw meat, seafood, rice, and potato flakes, were more likely to carry harmful bacteria, which could thrive if food was not stored, transported, prepared, or cooked safely.

- For more information go to mpi.govt.nz/food-safety

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