Taranaki DHB's Public Health Unit is warning parents of rural preschoolers about a nasty toxin producing bacteria that spreads easily and can have life threatening consequences, especially for young children living on and around farms who are most at risk.

Shiga toxin producing E.coli (STEC), also known as Verotoxin producing E.coli (VTEC) is a relatively new illness to New Zealand, first detected in 1993. Taranaki has one of the highest rates of STEC, which causes a severe gastrointestinal illness with nearly half of cases ending up in hospital.

The Public Health Unit (PHU) has created an important new resource to educate parents about this type of E.coli in the form of a brochure and poster, highlighting what symptoms to be aware of and how to help prevent STEC from spreading.

Dr Jonathan Jarman, Taranaki DHB's Medical Officer of Health, said "STEC bacteria are carried in the intestines of cattle and other animals. Young children on farms with cattle are at high risk of catching this disease."


STEC resources are now available from the PHU's resource room by emailing resource.room@tdhb.org.nz or online: www.tdhb.org.nz.