Health officials are warning the risk of a
gastroenteritis outbreak is extremely high following Monday’s (June 13, 2011)
earthquakes and aftershocks.
The Community and Public Health Division of
Canterbury District Health Board is reminding the public to avoid all beaches,
rivers and waterways because the recent activity has resulted in more damage to
sewerage pipes and increased levels of untreated human sewage being discharged
into local rivers, the estuary and subsequently into the sea at beaches adjacent
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon
Pink says testing has confirmed water at some Christchurch beaches is
contaminated at levels that could make people very ill from contact.
“It is vital people adhere to this warning as
the current situation means there is a significant risk of outbreaks of
gastroenteritis,” Dr Pink says.
“We want everyone to avoid contact with all
rivers, sea water, ponds, puddles or other surface water around
This includes doing recreational activities such
as kayaking, rowing and surfing. People should also not fish or gather shellfish
from Christchurch waterways, including the estuary, he says.
“We are concerned about personal well-being, but
even more so about the risk of a significant outbreak of illness in our damaged
The water at all beaches between the Waimakariri
River and Lyttelton Harbour should be avoided. The affected beaches
beaches at Sumner and Scarborough
Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City
Council and CDHB will advise people when it is safe to resume recreation and
shellfish collection in Christchurch waterways and beaches.
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