Family members who took a trip to the park all came back covered in rashes. The suspect? Cattle ticks.
The mother, who does not want to be named, says she pulled three of the little blood-suckers from her knee after visiting Totara Park, one of South Auckland's premier reserves.
The Wattle Downs resident and her three children went to their doctor complaining of rashes and fevers after their visit.
Former Manukau City Council signs warn visitors that cattle ticks are present in the park. The introduced species is labelled a "common blood-sucking parasite" that lives in the grass and can be found on dogs and even humans.
The woman says she saw a sign but there was no information about the health effects the ticks can cause.
She took her children to the park because it was listed on a website as one of the top playgrounds in Auckland
Youngsters from a kindergarten were playing in the grounds so she thought it was safe.
"I believe this is a public health issue that needs to be managed correctly or the park shut down until the problem is corrected," she says.
The Ministry of Primary Industries is now looking into the woman's complaint.
A spokesperson says the ticks might have caused the family's rashes but that cannot be confirmed.
The ministry recommends the mother seeks further medical advice if the rash continues.
It does not expect the problem to be a newly introduced species of tick.
The ministry will talk to the woman and possibly to her family doctor as well as contacting the Auckland Council and the local medical officer of health.
The council says it has not received any reports of Totara Park visitors having problems with ticks.
A spokeswoman says cattle are used for pasture control at the park.
"There are several signs posted at various points in the reserve to notify people of cattle ticks," she says.
And there have been no reports of any serious disease resulting from tick bites in New Zealand, a Ministry of Health spokesperson says.
Call Auckland Council on 301 0101 if you experience problems from ticks at Totara Park.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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