Campylobacter rate outstrips Auckland

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012
petri dish
DAVID UNWIN/ Fairfax NZ
GROWING: Campylobacter is an infection caused by bacteria.

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South Canterbury is the campylobacter capital of New Zealand.

The district has the country's highest rate of campylobacter with 328.1 per 100,000. It had 185 cases for the year, ending October 31.

Campylobacter is an infection caused by bacteria. Often the bacteria are found in birds, cattle, sheep, cats and dogs.

People become infected when they swallow the bacteria. This may be from contaminated water and food, or from contact with infected animals or humans.

Latest figures from ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) shows South Canterbury had 19 reported campylobacter cases in October. The district's overall rate for the year is three times higher than Auckland's.

Canterbury District Health Board has the highest number of cases in the country for October and a rate of 229 per 100,000, for the year, followed closely by Southern District Health Board, which had 74 cases and a rate of 220 per 100,000.

The condition has been an ongoing problem in South Canterbury since at least 2006.

In that year the district also had the country's highest rate of campylobacter with 651.7 people diagnosed per 100,000, according to a University of Otago survey.

ESR's latest report shows South Canterbury's rate has since halved, but is still the highest in the country.

South Canterbury has so far avoided the legionnaires' disease outbreak that has left one person dead and another eight in hospital in Christchurch this week.

Nine cases have been reported in Christchurch and the Waimakariri district in the past two weeks. Compost and potting mix are believed to be the cause of most of those cases.

Whooping cough has also been doing the rounds in some districts, including South Canterbury which had 12 cases in October. It recorded a rate of 99.3 per 100,000 for the year.

Canterbury had the most cases with 121 and a rate of 233.2 per 100,000. The West Coast had the country's highest rate with 643.2 per 100,000 for the year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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