Outbreak proves bad for business

Last updated 09:23 25/01/2010

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A South Island camping ground says a diarrhoea and vomiting outbreak has devastated its business during the peak holiday season.

The Golden Bay Holiday Park at Tukurua Beach was forced to close to new campers this week and will not reopen until Monday at the earliest.

Up to 80 campers have fallen to the highly contagious norovirus, which began circulating in the camp two weeks ago and peaked this week.

Camp owner Bob Perriam said the site usually had about 400 campers at this time of year but was down to about 200. "It is devastating for our business."

He said the outbreak had eased to only a few cases, but after a meeting with health officials yesterday it was decided not to reopen until next week.

Perriam yesterday phoned people who had booked to warn them about the bug, and he said most people had been understanding.

Some campers have complained that the camp should have taken action sooner.

Wayne Tansley, of Wellington, said his wife and two children fell ill after staying in a cabin at the camp on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

He said they were not told about the outbreak on their arrival and did not see any notices about it.

"If there was a sign we never saw it . . . and we weren't told," he said.

Nelson-Marlborough medical officer of health Ed Kiddle, who visited the camp yesterday, said 60 per cent to 70 per cent of campers had been sick in the past week.

He said he had recommended that the camp remain closed until 48 hours after the last reported symptoms. Health officials were advising the owners on hygiene measures and infection control in the camp.

Information about the prevention and management of norovirus had been distributed to other camping grounds in the area, Kiddle said.

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- The Press

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