During a media conference today, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s CEO Dr Kevin Snee gave the following update on the gastrointestinal outbreak to include case counts, hospitalizations and info on the death investigation of a Hawke’s Bay woman.

Campylobacter Image/CDC

According to Snee, the district health board had 106 confirmed notifications and 334 probable making a total of 440, including 17 hospitalizations (2 in ICU). Overall, Dr Snee’s message was encouraging as he noted the number of people needing medical care was continuing to decline.

Concerning the death of the elderly woman previously reported, Coroner Peter Ryan has opened an investigation into the death of a Hawke’s Bay woman and will ascertain, as far as possible, whether a campylobacter infection contributed to her death.

Test results last night confirmed an 89-year-old woman, identified as Jean Sparksman, who died at Havelock North on 13 August, had contracted campylobacter. A post-mortem examination revealed she also had other significant underlying health issues.

Further pathology testing is being carried out to determine the specific cause of death, and what particular strain of campylobacter had been contracted.

Coroner Ryan stresses that, on the information available to date, it is unclear what effect, if any, the campylobacter infection had on this woman’s death.  This will be a focus of his coronial investigation.

Officials said that primary schools (Havelock North Primary, Te Mata Primary, Lucknow Primary, Havelock North Intermediate and Hereworth School) will remain closed until Monday 22nd August 2016. High schools have reopened.