In an update on the typhoid outbreak in Auckland, Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said Wednesday the number of confirmed cases of typhoid has risen to 16, with two other probable cases.

There are 12 people currently in hospital; some patients have now been discharged.

To date,  all the cases linked to this outbreak are part of the Mt Roskill Samoan Assembly of God Church community.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman spoke out concerning the ARPHS handling of the communications concerning this outbreak, “I certainly don’t expect to find out about things on the TV news that’s for sure. And I’m very unhappy about that and I’ve made that very clear,” he said.

“I’ve had a very direct conversation with officials about it.

“They’ve been taken to task but, look, I think there are some lessons the Auckland public health unit has learnt through this.

“Look, although clinically in terms of the public health aspects they’ve done a good job, clearly some of the communications could have been better at a variety of levels.”

On Wednesday, ARPHS also published a clarification on how typhoid spreads for the public:

It is important to understand typhoid is only spread by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with faeces or urine from a person who has the illness, or who may be a carrier of the bacteria.

Casual social contact, such as visiting a person in hospital and hugging and kissing them, is not a significant risk to people.

Once people are being effectively treated in hospital, the risk of them spreading the disease is significantly minimised. It can take a number of days of monitoring before they are fully cleared by public health. Once cleared there is no risk of them spreading the disease.

The usual incubation period for typhoid is 8-14 days, so people who became unwell in the past week could not have contracted the disease by visiting a person associated with outbreak in hospital.