5200 sickened with campy: Havelock North’s water supply has been given the all clear

Havelock North’s water supply no longer needs to be boiled, its council has announced nearly three weeks after first discovering a contamination.

Havelock North, New ZealandAbout 5200 people – a third of the New Zealand town’s population – have been affected since a campylobacter contamination was found in its water supply last month.

Since August 12, residents have been asked to boil drinking water, but on Saturday the Hastings District Council said tests had revealed the water was again safe to drink straight form the tap.

“The third clear [daily] water test in a row came back today, allowing the boil water notice to be lifted,” chief executive Ross McLeod said.

The water in the area will continue to be chlorinated for at least three months.

The government has launched an independent inquiry into the contamination.

The cost of the outbreak is going to cost ratepayers more than $700,000.

The Hastings District Council’s Finance Committee is expected to sign off on the expenditure at its meeting tomorrow.

The money is needed to cover the remission of water rates for each household in Havelock North, which is costing the council $300,000 in total.

It will also be used to fund the $110,000 recovery package for struggling businesses.

An extra $300,000 will also be put aside for additional costs arising from the water contamination, including extra water testing, engineering and technical investigations, water supply planning and enquiry costs.

Who steals mussels? People in NZ

MPI Fisheries-Northland reports on facebook that yesterday a member of the public reported a group taking too many mussels from the Whangarei Heads area.

mussel.theftFishery Officers responded to the call and met the men as they came ashore with their vessel. The group had a total of 2,683 mussels between three of them.

The trio were directed to our Whangarei office for the purpose of a formal interview, however the men had other ideas. They decided to take a detour and not go to the office as directed, they will now face not only serious Fisheries Act charges for the shellfish but also for obstructing Fishery Officers.

Blatant offending of this nature will not be tolerated, the men could face charges of up to $250,000 as well as forfeiture of their vehicle, vessel and trailer (all of which was confiscated at the time).

Reminder: the daily limit for green lipped mussels in the Northland area is 50 per gatherer.

And I’ve gone with this version of the video because the lyrics are so beautiful.

 

Campy hits over 5000 in NZ

Chlorine works.

The number of people sickened by the contaminated Havelock North water supply has risen to 5198, the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (DHB) says.

six-hawkes-bay-school-affected-by-nasty-gastro-bug.png.hashed.0a693c79.desktop.story.inlineThat’s more than a third of the town’s 14,000 population.

At least 500 cases of those cases have been confirmed as due to campylobacter.

The DHB said there were no patients currently in hospital with a campylobacter infection.

A spokesperson said a medical officer of health and infectious diseases expert would present further data, and talk about people’s health concerns, at a public meeting in Havelock North tonight.

Meanwhile a Hawke’s Bay residents group is calling for a freeze on all regional council decisions affecting aquifer and river water quality, until the government’s inquiry into the water disaster has reported back.

4,700 sick: Second death linked to NZ campy outbreak

A second death has been linked to the Campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North, NZ.

jean.sparksman.cryptoThe Hawke’s Bay District Health Board states the woman in her nineties was admitted to Hawke’s Bay Hospital during the contamination crisis, which has affected more than 4,700 people.

The DHB say while the woman had campylobacter, she died from an unrelated medical condition yesterday evening.

This comes as the coroner investigates the death of 89 year old Jean Sparksman (right) who died on August 13th while also suffering campylobacter.

The coroner won’t be holding a formal investigation into the recent death of the woman in her nineties, as there is not direct link to the gastro bug.

NZ dad isn’t fazed at all by the outrage at his daughter’s first deer kill

John Edens of Stuff reports a proud father says he isn’t worried by critics upset at photographs of his eight-year-old daughter taking a bite out of a deer’s heart after her first successful hunt.

kid.deer.heart.2Johnny Yuile and his daughter went hunting on a friend’s bush block the Hawke’s Bay, earlier this month.

Yuile – a New Zealand police constable – said he has been hunting with his daughter since she was a toddler and when she was little he’d strap her to a front-pack during bush missions.

His daughter, using her dad’s Remington 7mm-08 rifle, shot a young stag from 40 metres.

He sent a couple of photographs online to a Facebook page, showing a smiling father and daughter beside the stag and his daughter taking a bite from the deer’s heart. For many people, tasting a freshly killed animal, whether it’s by taking a bite or drinking blood, is part of hunting.

Yuile said he hunts for meat for his family.

“She made tricky downhill shot using my shoulder as a leaning rest and shot with dads 7 mm-08 at about 40m. Then she took a bite from its warm quivering heart,” a Facebook post said.

The Facebook page quickly attracted “haters” who criticised Yuile for taking his daughter hunting at such a young age, branded the hunt “sadistic” and wrongly accused the pair of killing an animal for sport.

Yuile said the pair were hunting at a friend’s place.

Chlorine is good: 4100 sick from NZ water, mayor says chlorination ‘will get a bloody good fight from us’

While his neighbours still suffer from the country’s worst case of mass water contamination, Napier Mayor Bill Dalton says his city will fight to keep chlorine out of its town supply.

bill.daltonLower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace is also rejecting calls for all town water supplies to be chlorinated in the wake of the Havelock North contamination crisis.

About 74,000 Lower Hutt residents from Pomare to Petone drink chlorine-free water sourced from the Waiwhetu aquifer. The rest of greater Wellington’s supply is chlorinated.

In Hawke’s Bay, Napier, Hastings and Havelock North’s town supplies have been chlorine-free but the chemical was added to Havelock North water to treat a campylobacter contamination on August 12, and to the Hastings supply as a precaution last week.

Water treatment engineer Iain Rabbitts said chlorination should be made mandatory to avoid a repeat of the Havelock North crisis, adding, “We knew this was going to happen at some point in one of the unchlorinated supplies in New Zealand and we all hoped it wouldn’t be too bad.”

But Dalton said Napier would resist a move to mandatory chlorination “incredibly strongly because one of the points of difference of Napier is our wonderfully pure, unadulterated water supply”.

He did not want the city serving up the type of chlorine-tainted water other cities, such as Auckland, had to endure, he said.

dumbass“The first thing we do when we’re heading north is we pick up heaps of bottles of water because we don’t drink the water up in Auckland because it bloody stinks.

“If the Government turns around and tries to play the heavy hand, then they’ll get a bloody good fight from us.”

The only thing bloody about this scenario are the asses of the sick from constant pooping.

Marty Sharpe of Stuff also writes it now appears all but certain that a routine test of the Havelock North water supply showed it was clear of E.coli when it cannot have been.

The same test procedure is used by councils around the country, and its apparent failure in Havelock North may result in a reappraisal of whether current testing standards are robust enough.

Those questions are likely to form part of the government inquiry into the outbreak, announced on Monday.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board chief executive Kevin Snee said on Monday that a survey of the 4500 residents affected by the campylobacter outbreak revealed they were most probably first exposed to the bug through their drinking water about Saturday, August 6, and that their symptoms first started showing on Monday, August 8.

But a routine test by Hastings District Council of the water supply on Tuesday, August 9, came back clear, showing no sign of E.coli. The test takes 24 hours, so the results came on Wednesday.

If they had shown positive at that point, the water system would have been chlorinated immediately.

The next routine test, on Thursday, August 11, came back on Friday as positive for E.coli. By that stage it was clear from DHB records that there was widespread illness in the area, and the decision was made to chlorinate.

E.coli, a common gut bacterium in warm-blooded animals, is used as an indicator of the contamination of water by excrement. It indicates there may be other pathogenic bacteria such as campylobacter.

Public Health Services drinking water assessor Peter Wood, who is in Hawke’s Bay working on the outbreak, said there could be situations of “sheer dumb luck” when E.coli was present in the water but not detected.

Over 4000 sick from Campylobacter in NZ water

With over 4,000 now sick from drinking water contaminated with Campylobacter in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said today charges could be laid.

Hawke's BayAccording to Nicholas Jones of the NZ Herald, Key is backing the Hastings District Council, saying it acted as quickly as it could. But he told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking there could be court action, as it’s not clear whether the contamination contributed to the death of a woman in a rest home.

He says that court action could involve civil or criminal charges.

The Ministry of Education says all Havelock North’s schools and early childhood centres are expected to be open today.

After the rolls are taken at Havelock North Intermediate this morning the students will be gathered for an assembly.

“We’ll just talk through hygiene basically. Over the next little while we’ll have the Red Cross in during the day at points. We’ll be talking about using the hand sanitisers and washing hands properly when using the loo,” said Principal Julia Beaumont.

At the weekend, the Hawke’s Bay DHB said interim results from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research suggests contamination from cattle and other four-legged farm animals may have been in the water.

Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, an extreme event expert at Auckland University, criticised the official reaction to the outbreak, saying she was “staggered” at how quickly the disaster snowballed out of control.

“Better planning could have minimised unintended consequences and downstream effects that make the disaster worse. The fact that contaminated water was brought into Havelock North in a tanker is staggering.”

3200 sick with Campy in NZ town: Govt to hold inquiry into Havelock North water contamination

As the number of sick people increased to 3,200 in Havelock North, New Zealand, a town of 13,000, focus has shifted to the source of the Campylobacter in the water supply, particularly a mushroom farm.

emersonAn investigation into a previous contamination in Havelock North’s water supply has found earthworks on a neighboring mushroom farm may be to blame.

The government will hold its own independent inquiry into the contamination of Havelock North’s water supply, it has announced.

I served on the inquiry after the Walkerton E. coli O157:H7 outbreak killed seven and sickened 2,500 in a town of 5,000.

My second daughter is getting married on Saturday, she was 10 when Walkerton happened, and we were and still are close friends with some of the families involved.

Cute grandson (I used to have hair like that).

All the news, it just repeats itself.

Safe water is a public health priority.

Hundreds sickened with Campylobacter in NZ town’s water supply

At least 200 people have been stricken by what appears to be Campylobacter in Havelock North, New Zealand, and residents say Hastings District Council knew the town’s water supply was contaminated hours before they told people to stop drinking it.

Havelock North, New ZealandCassandra Heke said she was angry she heard about the contaminated water from her friends before the council made the issue public.

“The council knew about it on Friday morning but didn’t tell anyone.”

She had chosen to keep her child home for the day, but had called in for some voluntary work at Havelock North Primary School. “I think it’s dreadful, especially the elderly, it’s hurt the community.”

She commended the school’s ability to communicate with them as parents and update them as the saga worsened.

The outbreak has been linked to an underground bore which tested positive for E. coli.

Hastings District Council was unable to be reached for comment this morning.

Colleen Pascoe had just done the school run for her grandchildren while their mother lay sick at home.

“It’s disgusting the council didn’t tell us.”

She said her daughter, not knowing the sickness was waterborne, had focussed on keeping her fluids up drinking lots of water. Catherine Wedd, who had just dropped her child off at school, said she was angry about the lack of communication.

Hastings District Council issued a full page apology this morning for the contaminated water.

Hawke’s Bay Hospital confirmed two older people were critically ill in the intensive care unit. A death at a Havelock North rest home may also be linked to the illness.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today said 183 people went to their local doctor and 11 people went to hospital for treatment on Sunday.

Today a leading researcher of infectious diseases said it was likely faecal run-off from sheep and cattle was the cause of this latest outbreak.

walkerton“Groundwater is much less likely to be contaminated than surface water, but if it is campylobacter, based on previous experiences, it is most likely to have come from cattle and sheep and run-off of effluent or faeces,” said Massey University Infectious Diseases Research Centre director professor Nigel French.

He said the outbreak demonstrated even secure groundwater could become contaminated and testing and treatment was advised to ensure the best public health outcomes particularly if there had been a high-risk event such as heavy rainfall.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Nicholas Jones said gastroenteritis 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.

He said they encouraged the community to keep an eye out for older people living alone.

“The boil notice will remain until we are confident there is no other bug resistant to chlorination in the water, which is expected to take several days,” he said.

Hands needed to be washed thoroughly by using plenty of soap, cleaning under fingernails, rinsing hands well and drying on a clean towel: before and after preparing food, after going to the toilet or changing a baby’s nappy, after caring for sick people and after touching animals.

What water are the residents supposed to use?