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Teams to stop disease outbreak in Kaikoura

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/11/2016

Specialist medical teams have arrived in isolated Kaikoura to help prevent an infectious disease outbreak.

"Power cuts, damaged sewerage infrastructure, people sharing accommodation and a lack of access to clean drinking water can create ideal conditions for the spread of infectious diseases," Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey said.

While Dr Humphrey's team was working to address any water, sanitary or stress-related anti-social issues that may emerge, he said they needed help.

"Everyone needs to thoroughly wash their hands or use hand sanitiser after toileting and before and after eating or preparing food," he said.

Authorities advised residents in affected areas to boil their drinking water or, if that is not possible, treat it with one-quarter teaspoon of bleach per 2L container of water.

Anyone even remotely unwell should also contact their GP team immediately, limit contact with other people and not prepare food.

Psychosocial Committee chair of Greater Christchurch, Dr Lucy D'Aeth, says neighbours needed to check on each other's mental wellbeing because successive aftershocks, sleep deprivation and the enormity of the clean-up may now begin to hit home.

"One of the best things you can do to look after yourself is to connect with others in your community. You don't need to go through this alone," she said.

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