In a follow-up to the gastrointestinal outbreak in the North Island’s Hawke’s Bay district, officials with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board are getting more reports of people seeking treatment for vomiting and diarrhea.  40 people presented to Hastings Health Centre, while other facilities are also seeing increased numbers.

Campylobacter Image/CDC

Hawke’s Bay Hospital has two older people in its Intensive Care Unit in a critical condition, both with a gastro illness and both from Havelock North. One was admitted today and the other on Friday, which initially seemed unrelated. The type of bug they have has not yet been determined but it now looks likely that both are related to the gastro outbreak in Havelock North.

This has prompted health officials to encourage the community to keep an eye out for older people living alone.

In addition, Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said testing of sick people had identified that the majority of the illness being reported was campylobacter. “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”

Campylobacteriosis may cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting within two to five days after exposure to the organism. Illness can last for up to a week or more and can be especially severe for those who have weakened or compromised immune systems, and for young children and the elderly. Although most people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely, some patients do suffer long-term effects, including arthritis and paralysis.

The boil water notice for Havelock North residents’ remains in place, however chlorination of the water supply seems to have been effective and is now throughout the Havelock North water supply.