Health warning after E.coli found in Patea's water supply

A bacteria that can cause people to become seriously ill has been found in another Taranaki water supply.

Patea residents in South Taranaki are being urged to boil their water after it was found to contain Escherichia E.coli (known as E.coli), which can cause intestinal infection and symptoms including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever, while severe cases can lead to kidney failure.

South Taranaki District Council's water supply manager Peter Cook said routine tests had detected the bacteria in the Patea water supply, and investigations were now underway to find the source.

Residents are advised to boil all water used for drinking, brushing teeth or for food preparation, until further notice. Bringing water to the boil was enough to kill all bugs, but Cook recommended boiling water for about one minute.

The council had started chlorinating the water supply to kill all bugs and residents would notice a difference in the taste and odour over the next couple of days.

Chilling the water in the fridge could reduce the chlorine taste, Cook said.

Water still needed to be boiled even if the smell or taste of chlorine was present, he said.

Patea's water woes come just weeks after E.coli was found in Toko's drinking waters.

In late February the Stratford District Council issued a boil water notice for Toko after E.coli was discovered in the water supply.

It was suspected the source of the contamination was from an animal which had crawled into one of the water tanks and died.

The spate of E.coli cases doesn't stop there. The bacteria has also been found recently in other waters in Taranaki.

Last week the South Taranaki District Council issued a double warning for Kaupokonui River Mouth in Manaia, and Opunake Lake.

This warning remains in place and people have been advised to not collect shellfish or plant life from the areas and to avoid coming into contact with the water.

It was also recommended to keep pets away from the water, and to wash and cook eels thoroughly before eating them.

Anyone showing symptoms of sickness should visit their doctor as soon as possible.

Further information and updates will be provided on council's website, or alternatively the council can be contacted on 0800 111 323.

E.coli at a glance:
* E. coli is a type of bacteria that normally live in the intestines of people and animals.
* Some types can cause intestinal infection.
* Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and fever.
* More severe cases can lead to bloody diarrhoea, dehydration, or even kidney failure.
* Symptoms generally begin between one and five days after you have been infected.
* Symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to more than a week.
* Source:

- Stuff

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