Paratyphoid Fever Outbreak in Hawke's Bay

It seems that sewage-contaminated mussels may be the culprit in an outbreak of Paratyphoid Fever in Hawke's Bay which has so far (as at 26 September) hospitalised five out of the six people infected. Three of these people ate shellfish collected from Ahuriri, Napier.

Paratyphoid fever is caused by bacteria which can be transmitted to humans through the faeces of an infected person contaminating food and water.  Shellfish can filter and retain pathogens from water. 

To avoid infection: do not eat shellfish from the Napier Marina site and always heed any coastal warning signs about shellfish. Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before food preparation or eating.  Cooking shellfish thoroughly will kill any pathogens.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be infected, seek medical help straight away. This disease is not trivial.

The NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre is currently working with the East Coast Community of Tolaga Bay to help them evaluate safe/unsafe wild food sources such as shellfish.

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