Darfield, Hororata water investigated

19:33, Aug 23 2012

The Canterbury District Health Board is investigating whether an outbreak of gastroenteritis at Darfield and Hororata was from contaminated water supplies.

The investigations follow 19 confirmed or suspected gastroenteritis cases in the region, one of which has resulted in hospitalisation.

Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey said many more people were expected to have had symptoms, as not all those suffering from gastroenteritis would have visited their doctor.

"While Selwyn District Council testing has shown the water in Darfield and the Selwyn Rural Water Supply's Hororata branch is now safe to drink, it is possible that the gastroenteritis outbreak was caused by problems with water supplies late last week," Humphrey said.

"The notifications coincide with water supply issues the region has been experiencing. In June, the council reverted to its river supply because of problems with its deep-bore system. The heavy rainfall over the last few weeks has put additional pressure on water supplies."

The health board was carrying out clinical and public health investigations to determine the source of the outbreak, he said.

"New Zealand's drinking-water standards ensure there are several barriers between potential infection and water-related illness," he said.

"Infection usually occurs when more than one of these barriers breaks down . . ."


The Press