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Biological Health Hazard – Campylobacteriosis: New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay region


Published Date: 2016-08-17 13:25:33
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Campylobacteriosis – New Zealand: (HB) waterborne
Archive Number: 20160817.4422479

Date: Tue 16 Aug 2016 2:37 PM (GMT+12)
Source: News Hub [edited]

Havelock North [in Hastings, North Island’s Hawke’s Bay region] residents have been told the taste and smell of chlorine in their tap water won’t go away, with authorities confirming today [16 Aug 2016] it will be added to the water supply indefinitely. It’s another blow to the community that has already had 2000 of them struck down with gastrointestinal illness, caused by contaminated water. The Hastings District Council says it’s investigating how the town’s water got contaminated with _Campylobacter_, and it’s also on the search for new potential water supplies.

To date, 22 people are in hospital with gastroenteritis illness, and 1 remains in a critical but stable condition. There are now 62 confirmed and 129 probable cases of campylobacteriosis.

The council is conducting phone surveys of Havelock North residents to assess how many people are affected and what additional help they might need. “Extra support from district nurses has also been provided to rest homes in the area who are reporting increased illness,” the council said in a statement. A boil notice remains in place until authorities are confident there is no other bug resistant to the chlorination in the water.

Dozens of Red Cross and Civil Defence officers were pounding the pavement in Hawke’s Bay on [Tue 16 Aug 2016], checking on residents affected by the outbreak. Many people have come down with violent vomiting and diarrhea since the Havelock North water supply was contaminated, and some are too sick to leave their homes.

Graeme Langford, disaster management officer for the Red Cross, says teams will offer emergency supplies such as food and toilet paper. “They’ll be on foot in the area going door to door,” he says. “It should take them most of the day to get that work done, and where we identify some need, then we will be able to help out.”

Prime Minister John Key says there will be an inquiry into what caused the outbreak, and the Ministry of Health will be involved, but the current priority is preventing it from spreading further. Labor leader Andrew Little says he’s waiting to see what assistance the Government provides to the Hawke’s Bay community. “This is simply not something that should be happening in the 21st century in New Zealand,” says Mr Little.

[Byline: Adrien Taylor]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[Maps of New Zealand can be seen at and

As implied in the post, contamination of municipal water can be from multiple pathogens, including viruses such as norovirus and rotavirus, bacteria such as _Salmonella_, _E. coli_, and _Campylobacter_, and protozoa such as _Cryptosporidium_ and _Giardia_.

An example of a past outbreak of campylobacteriosis in Finland is cited below:

Kuusi M, Nuorti JP, Hänninen ML, et al: A large outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with a municipal water supply in Finland. Epidemiol Infect. 2005; 133(4): 593-601;

In August 1998, an outbreak of campylobacteriosis occurred in one municipality in northern Finland. A 10 percent random sample of residents (population 15 000) was selected through the National Population Registry for a survey conducted by using postal questionnaires. Cases were defined as residents of the municipality with onset of acute gastroenteritis from 1 to 20 August 1998. Of 1167 respondents (response rate 78 percent), 218 (18.7 percent) met the case definition. Drinking non-chlorinated municipal tap water was strongly associated with illness (OR 34.4). The estimated total number of ill persons was 2700. _Campylobacter jejuni_ was isolated from stool samples of 45 (61 percent) out of 74 patients tested. All 5 isolates tested had indistinguishable PFGE [pulsed-field gel electrophoresis] patterns. Water samples were negative for campylobacter and coliforms. Epidemiological and environmental evidence suggested mains repair as the source of contamination. Non-chlorinated ground-water systems may be susceptible to contamination and can cause large outbreaks.
– Mod.LL]

See Also

Campylobacteriosis – USA: (UT) unpasteurized milk, 2014 20160401.4131443

Campylobacteriosis, E. coli EHEC – USA (02): (ID) unpasteurized milk 20151030.3755260
Campylobacteriosis, E. coli EHEC – USA: (ID) unpasteurized milk, recall 20151022.3735320
Campylobacteriosis – USA (02): (CA) raw goat milk 20150606.3415757
Campylobacteriosis – USA: (CA) unpasteurized milk 20150327.3258683

Campylobacteriosis – UK (02): chicken packaging, alert 20141125.2988592
Campylobacteriosis – USA (07): (SD) raw milk 20141124.2986579
Campylobacteriosis – USA (06): (WI) raw milk 20141025.2901058
Campylobacteriosis – USA (05): (WI) 20141001.2817542
Campylobacteriosis – USA (04): (WI) 20140926.2805165
Campylobacteriosis – USA (03): (UT) unpasteurized milk 20140827.2727937
Campylobacteriosis – Iceland 20140806.2662451
Campylobacteriosis – UK: (Scotland) barbecued poultry 20140719.2620444
Campylobacteriosis – USA (02): (NV) race participants, 2012 20140501.2443247
Campylobacteriosis – New Zealand: (CA) unpasteurized milk 20140329.2365370

Campylobacteriosis, E. coli EHEC – New Zealand: raw milk 20130802.1860208

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

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