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ARPHS meets with typhoid-hit community

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/04/2017

Auckland health officials have met with the church and families hit by a typhoid outbreak and say the spread of the disease appears to have "plateaued".

One woman has died and 18 cases of the disease have been confirmed, while there was still also one "probable" case and another being investigated on Monday morning.

"The data reinforces Auckland Regional Public Health Service's view the outbreak may have plateaued," it said in a statement.

But the health service was criticised for keeping quiet about the outbreak for days after a woman with the disease had died.

She was a member of Mount Albert Samoan Assembly of God church and her family say they didn't know she had typhoid until ARPHS put out a media release following the funeral.

The service said it had met with the church and families on Sunday to answer questions about the outbreak and "acknowledged areas where things could have gone better".

"We have spoken personally with the family and church congregation and gained a deeper understanding of their concern," ARPHS public health physician William Rainger said.

"I hope we have been able to reassure the community that typhoid is a very treatable disease, that this outbreak is under control, and the risk of new cases is low."

Family spokesperson Jerome Mika says he is positive about a plan that had been set down for the days ahead.

"Many of the community's fears have been put to rest, and there is strong commitment on both sides to work together."

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman last week said he only found out about it by watching the news and school children that attended the church were only informed on Wednesday.

Last week ARPHS said it had apologised to the principal and to the parents of the school affected, admitting there was confusion and miscommunication.

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