The daughter of a couple struck down with botulism poisoning will return to school as two members of the family make painstakingly slow progress.

Husband and wife Shibu Kochummen, 35, and Subi Babu, 32, and Kochummen's 62-year-old mother, Alekutty Daniel, remain in a serious but stable condition in a ward at Waikato Hospital.

The trio fell ill two weeks ago after eating what was suspected to be contaminated wild boar and have been responding to anti-toxin treatment for botulism.

The couple's 7-year-old daughter will go to Putaruru to stay with a friend whose parent is a teacher at her school, according to family friend and spokesman Joji Varghese.


"We had a very nice call from her principal yesterday and he said they're more than happy to look after her for the remainder of the school term, about three weeks."

Varghese said it had been decided the elder girl would go back to school on Monday to finish the year with her friends and try to establish some normality.

Their 1-year-old daughter will stay in Hamilton with her aunt and uncle from India.

Meanwhile he said Daniel, the girl's paternal grandmother, was now "slightly responsive".

"She has begun to have co-ordinated eye movement. She's focusing on things. No-one has spoken but we are beginning to get focus on movement."

Subi Babu was also making progress but not as much as her mother-in-law.

"Though she can't follow your finger she is able to lock onto it if it's kept in one place. That's very positive as far as the doctors are concerned."

But there was still no response from Shibu Kochummen.


Varghese said doctors did not know if Daniel's ability to follow an object with her eyes meant she was comprehending yet and they were still awaiting results of tests being conducted in Brisbane to definitively diagnose botulism.

Relatives of the family, originally from India, arrived in New Zealand last week and the pair, an aunt and uncle, visited the threesome every day and were looking after the couple's two daughters.

The two children were relieved to see their relatives, who do not speak much English and are staying with Varghese in Hamilton.

Botulism is a serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves, causing paralysis.

Cases are rare in New Zealand according to the Ministry of Health.

"Prior to 2017, the most recent probable case was notified during 2014. This was the first case of botulism in New Zealand since 1985, when two cases were reported."

Patients diagnosed with botulism could be treated with an anti-toxin, which could significantly reduce the time of intensive care needed.

When treated with appropriate care, most people would fully recover.