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Taranaki parents warned of E.coli risk

Taranaki DHB's Public Health Unit is warning parents of rural preschoolers about a nasty toxin producing bacteria that spreads easily and can have life threatening consequences, especially for young children living on and around farms who are most at risk.

Taranaki has one of the highest rates of E.coli

Shiga toxin producing E.coli (STEC), also known as Verotoxin producing E.coli (VTEC) is a relatively new illness to New Zealand, first detected in 1993. Taranaki has one of the highest rates of STEC, which causes a severe gastrointestinal illness with nearly half of cases ending up in hospital.

The Public Health Unit (PHU) has created an important new resource to educate parents about this type of E.coli in the form of a brochure and poster, highlighting what symptoms to be aware of and how to help prevent STEC from spreading.

Dr Jonathan Jarman, Taranaki DHB’s Medical Officer of Health, said

“STEC bacteria are carried in the intestines of cattle and other animals. Young children on farms with cattle are at high risk of catching this disease.”

STEC resources are now available from the PHU’s resource room by emailing resource.room@tdhb.org.nz or online: www.tdhb.org.nz.

Source – Stratford Press


  1. Hi Dr. Jarman, My grand daughter of 15 months old has been diagnosed as having verotoxin infection. She had really bad diarrhea and her mother was told by the doctor that she had campylobacter but no mention was made of the verotoxin. My daughter had no idea of this until she was rung by someone from the health board as campylobacter is a notifiable complaint. The doctor here appeared to be totally ignorant of the severity of this illness and did not even discuss the result of the child’s fecal sample with the mum only telling her that her daughter had campylobacter. We are still concerned as 3 weeks later the verotoxin is still present in her fecal sample and she is still unwell. Yesterday my daughter took the child back to the doctor who diagnosed a throat infection and put her on antibiotics. It is very distressing as we are concerned that she may have developed HUS but the doctor is not at all concerned. It is very distressing. We are shocked by this ignorance and wish you well educating the medical fraternity.


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