Gastro outbreak biggest risk for isolated Kaikoura residents now

Wednesday November 16, 2016

​Canterbury DHB's community and public health officials arrived in Kaikoura yesterday and are focusing on preventing the spread of disease.

Dr Alistair Humphries and colleagues 

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the biggest health risk is the possible outbreak of a gastro bug.

"My personal view is that people aren't being vigilant enough about hand washing and ensuring drinking water is safe to drink," Dr Humphrey says.

"While water supplies are gradually being fixed, it remains crucial people continue to boil their drinking water or treat it with bleach. The water is not safe to drink.

"Unless it's bottled water, don't assume it's safe to drink.  Even water people are getting from the back of trucks needs to be boiled or treated.

"People should also not eat anything gathered from oceans and rivers due to possible contamination."

Dr Humphrey says increasing numbers of people are presenting at Kaikoura hospital with anxiety related problems

"Three days in many people are exhausted and anxious, and it doesn't help that people can't have showers. It's important that people do what they can to look after themselves and connect with those around them. Nobody is in this alone."

Canterbury DHB is working with other agencies to ensure there are sufficient supplies of hand sanitiser and bleach.

To treat water add 1 teaspoon of household (unscented) bleach per 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes (i.e. just under 1/4 tsp of bleach for a two litre container).

ENDS

Downloads available

Medium resolution photo of Alistair Humpries and his team in Kaikoura (200Kb, jpeg)

Page last reviewed: 16 November 2016
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