Woman dies after contracting typhoid
Health authorities are being criticised for waiting until after a woman died to notify the public about a typhoid outbreak.
Fifteen cases have now been confirmed to be linked to the outbreak, with two other probable cases awaiting further tests.
The woman, from Auckland’s Mt Roskill, died in Auckland City Hospital last Tuesday.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service Clinical Director, Dr Julia Peters, said the woman had serious health issues and the typhoid infection was another complicating factor.
The health service notified the public of the outbreak three days after her death, on Friday. Her funeral took place on Monday.
Peters said the service delayed announcing the death to enable funeral arrangements to be concluded.
‘‘We extend our sympathy to the woman’s family and church community.’’
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said there were ‘‘probably some communications issues’’ that the health service needed to take on board regarding the delay in releasing information.
‘‘They should be communicating very clearly with people on issues,’’ he said.
Labour’s health spokesman David Clark said he was concerned there had not been a public campaign to make sure people had the information they needed.
Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesman Su’a William Sio said he had not been told of the outbreak by officials, and instead was notified by a member of the community.
Sio had ‘‘serious concerns’’ about the lack of information provided by authorities, he said.
Labour leader Andrew Little said members of the public were entitled to know about the outbreak earlier than they had been.
‘‘If there is a fatality as a result, they should have told us.’’
Typhoid is for the most part brought in from overseas by infected travellers.
It infects 30 million globally and is fatal in 10 -30 per cent of untreated cases.
If there are widespread epidemics overseas, it’s usually a result of faeces in water supply or street food.
The latest outbreak has affected members of a Samoan church in Auckland. It is not yet known what country they were in when they contracted the disease.
The woman was being treated at Auckland City Hospital.