Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak in Queenstown Area
Te Whatu Ora - National Public Health Service has been notified of fifteen cases of cryptosporidiosis in the urban Queenstown area and is advising people to monitor for symptoms of the infection.
“The most common symptoms of cryptosporidium infection are smelly, watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps,” says Dr Emma Sherwood, Southern Medical Officer of Health.
“If you live or work in the Queenstown area or have visited there in the last 12 days and are experiencing these symptoms, please call your GP and inform them.”
Cryptosporidium (also called ‘crypto’) is a parasite found in the gut of infected people and animals. It is passed on in the faeces (poos) of infected humans and animals. People become infected when they swallow the parasites, usually in contaminated water.
Cryptosporidium can also be spread by hands contaminated with faeces during toilet use or nappy changing. From hands it can spread to surfaces, toys, food and water. It can also spread by contact with infected animals, or in shared water such as swimming pools.
The source of infection in this outbreak is under investigation and currently unknown. Te Whatu Ora is working alongside Queenstown Lakes District Council to establish the source of infection.
A boil water notice has been issued by Queenstown-Lakes District Council for Queenstown and Frankton residents and businesses on a public supply.
People in the affected area advised to boil all their drinking water for at least one minute (or use bottled water) for the following uses:
- Drinking water – including cold beverages, ice-making and coffee machines
- Food preparation – including washing uncooked foods such as salad, vegetables, and fruit
- Preparing baby formula
- Washing food utensils
- Brushing teeth
What should you do if you have cryptosporidiosis?
There are things that you should do to look after yourself and others:
- Ensure you drink plenty of fluids (if water, follow boil water notices). This is especially important for sick children as children become dehydrated easily.
- Do not return to work, school or preschool until free of symptoms for 48 hours.
- Do not use swimming pools, hot tubs, or splash pads for at least 2 weeks after your symptoms stop.
- Avoid visiting people in hospital or long-term care facilities for at least 48 hours after your symptoms stop.
- Wash hands regularly with soap and hot water especially after visiting the toilet. Dry hands thoroughly after washing.
- If possible, do not prepare food for anyone else until 48 hours after your symptoms stop.
- Disinfect toilets regularly.
- Use your own towel; do not share with anyone else.
- Bathe separately or bathe sick children after others.
- Seek medical care through your GP or call Healthline if you have health concerns