Auckland student contracts Typhoid on India visit

Blockhouse Bay Primary School in Auckland.
John Selkirk/Fairfax NZ

Blockhouse Bay Primary School in Auckland.

Blockhouse Bay Primary School parents have been notified after a pupil at the Auckland school caught Typhoid while visiting India.

Principal Neil Robinson said the boy's family contacted the school about a month ago to let it know the child had contracted the highly-contagious illness.

The family told the school it was receiving all relevant assistance and advice, and the boy was being treated in New Zealand, Robinson said.

The school contacted Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS), which confirmed the child did have Typhoid.

ARPHS did not instruct the school to notify the community.

However, the school took the opportunity to notify parents there was someone in the area with the illness, Robinson said.

The school's note to parents included information on the illness, the symptoms and how to prevent it spreading.

ARPHS information on Typhoid and Paratyphoid states the illness is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and Salmonella paratyphi.

The infections commonly occur in areas of poor sanitation and contaminated water supplies.

Almost all typhoid and paratyphoid cases in New Zealand were caught overseas, ARPHS said.

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The illness is contracted when someone eats food or water that is contaminated with faeces from a person who has the illness. It is only spread from person-to-person.

The symptoms include poor appetite, headaches, generalised aches and pains, fever, and lethargy.

Robinson said the symptoms could be similar to other, more minor health complaints, and the school wanted parents to know to seek medical advice if someone they knew presented with any of the symptoms.

The school also provided a link to reliable sources of further information.

The pupil was readmitted to hospital with further symptoms about 10 days after the school was told of his condition.

ARPHS medical officer of health Dr Richard Hoskins said the service received between 20 and 30 notifications of Typhoid in the Auckland region each year.

The Health Act and Food Safety Regulations were relevant to gastroenteric or stomach bug illnesses including Typhoid.

In all instances the Ministry of Health has to be notified of suspect and confirmed cases.

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