Nationwide river stocktake needed after 'disturbing' findings

Posted 19/12/2018

NZ Herald website

Environmental health agency ESR has called for a new stocktake of the country's waterways after an independent test at three Canterbury rivers revealed dangerous disease-causing bacteria and antibiotic-resistant E. coli.

Fish and Game commissioned the independent testing after anglers raised concerns about the potential risk of infection they were running due to river pollution and the increasing number of dairy cows in Canterbury.

The tests samples were collected from the Ashley, Selwyn and Rangitata rivers in May and September and tested by Massey University's Institute of Agriculture and Environment.

The findings showed the presence of E. coli, antibiotic-resistant E. coli and a dangerous strain of bacteria called shiga toxin-producing E. coli or STEC.

STEC infection is a notifiable disease and a strain of E. coli which produces shiga toxin that can cause severe disease, including bloody diarrhea and kidney failure.

Read the full article here.