Via The Guardian: NZ town hit by mass gastro outbreak is sent E coli-infected water by council. Excerpt:
The New Zealand town where thousands of people have been affected by gastro due to a contaminated water supply have been told to dump emergency supplies of free water supplied by the council because it has tested positive for E coli.
Last week thousands of residents of the small North Island town of Havelock North fell seriously ill after the town’s water supply was contaminated with campylobacter – suspected to be the result of animal faeces in the water.
Since the outbreak last Thursday 841 people went to local GPs with gastro symptoms and 91 to the emergency department at Hawke’s Bay district hospital. More than a dozen people remain in hospital due to the contaminated water, one in intensive care.
The Red Cross and civil defence have been going door to door in Havelock North, delivering supplies of bottled water, toilet paper and nappies, particularly to elderly people living alone.
After coping with criticism from locals for its poor handling of the crisis the Hastings district council brought in nine water tankers and stationed them around the town for people to collect free water it said was safe to drink.
However on Thursday the council told residents to dump any water collected from a tanker stationed at a local school, because an E coli indicator was found in the tanker’s water.
“The news today has spread ripples of fear through our community,” said Te Mata primary school’s principal, Michael Bain, who said three of his four family members had been seriously ill.