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Complication for Havelock gastro patient

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/09/2016

Havelock North residents are being warned to stay on the lookout for symptoms of a serious neurological condition after a woman struck down during the town's recent campylobacter outbreak developed the complication.

The woman in her 40s was on Friday admitted to Hawke's Bay Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital and has now been confirmed to have Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

She is in a stable condition and recovering, Hawke's Bay District Health Board said.

The rare condition, which can be a complication of severe cases of campylobacter, is in some cases life-threatening and causes the sufferer's muscles to quickly weaken, starting at the hands and feet.

Any Havelock North residents experiencing pins and needles or weakness or clumsiness in hands and feet needed to quickly get medical attention, Hawke's Bay Hospital physician Andrew Burns.

"Early treatment of this condition can impact on the severity, so early diagnosis is important," he said.

He said residents could call Healthline free at any time, or could go see their GPs.

The woman suffered from diarrhoeal symptoms during a water contamination in the lower North Island town that affected more than 5000 people, a third of the its population, in August.

She is the first person confirmed to have developed Guillain-Barre since, the DHB said.

Earlier on Monday, it was announced retired Court of Appeal judge Lyn Stevens had been appointed to head an independent inquiry into the water contamination crisis.

The probe will look into how the water became contaminated, how it was dealt with, and what can be done to reduce the risk of it happening again.

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