Kiwifruit Dumped After Typhoid Scare, TB In Te Puke

Day’s after a televised broadcast of NZ Prime Minister John Key defending his country’s 100% Pure image on the BBC’s Hardtalk, the Bay of Plenty Times is running the story that tonnes of Kiwifruit have been pulled from the market after a Typhoid scare.

“Kiwifruit worth $800,000 – including some bound for overseas markets – has been destroyed after a worker at a Bay of Plenty orchard was found to have typhoid fever.

Zespri has destroyed 100,000 trays of fruit, including about 30,000 that were destined for foreign stores.

The fruit is about 0.1 per cent of Zespri’s annual export volume…” read the full report here on the BOP Time’s website

The report says the orchard cannot be named and it looks like an infected seasonal worker from overseas was infected with Typhoid bacteria.

As a precaution the fruit the worker may have come into contact with has been scrapped. An investigation is now underway into how the worker slipped through health checks andinfected other workers.”

The paper doesn’t go into any details about the numbers of secondary infected people or whether they presented any further risks to either the produce they handled, or to the wider community.

The orchard is thought to be east of Tauranga. Later reports stated that the picker was from Samoa and was one of thousands of Pacific Islanders brought to New Zealand under a Labour Department scheme to relieve chronic labour shortages in the horticulture industry.

How much of a problem is Typhoid in New Zealand?

In 2009 there were 35 Typhoid cases in New Zealand, up from 29 in the previous year.

In his 2008 State of the Nation Speech John Key said that 2007 had

“showed us its bitter fruits. The dramatic drive-by shooting of two-year-old Jhia Te Tua, caught in a battle between two gangs in Wanganui. The incidence of typhoid, a Third World disease, reaching a 20-year high. The horrific torture and eventual death of three-year-old Nia Glassie. The staggering discovery of a lost tribe of 6,000 children who are not enrolled at any school…

Typhoid fever is a disease that affects developing nations with poor sanitation facilities.

According to Wikipedia contributors

“The name of “typhoid” comes from the spike in occurrences following a typhoon in Asian countries. The resultant contaminated water and poor sanitary conditions following strong typhoons were the perfect breeding ground for the fever.

The impact of this disease fell sharply with the application of modern sanitation techniques…”

Typhoid carriers may be asyptomatic – meaning that they do not have symptoms of the disease but may be capable of infecting others.

The New Zealand Kiwifruit industry was recently hit by widespread outbreak of a bacterial disease called Pseudomonas syringae, pv actinidiae (PSA) which is thought to have affected over 200 orchards.

Kiwifruit growers have been spraying copper and Serenade Max (a  patented strain of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis) to protect their orchards against PSA that first struck east of Te Puke in November last year.


Also in the Bay of Plenty this week – a student at Te Puke High School was diagnosed with TB and is receiving antibiotic treatment.

Pupils and staff are also being offered screening for the disease.  According to a report in the  Daily Post there are around 12 cases of TB in the Bay of Plenty Lakes area every year.

Other Third World Diseases in New Zealand

NZ has 14 times the average OECD rate of rheumatic fever,  five to 10 times the rate of whooping cough and pneumonia compared with the United Kingdom and United States,  and four to six times the rate of child maltreatment compared with the best countries.

Rheumatic fever rates within some pockets of New Zealand are now among the worst in the world, yet it hardly exists in other developed countries
NZ Heart Foundation website

Household crowding is partly blamed for the country having one of the highest rates of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) among children and teenagers in the developed world.The infectious disease, which can cause chronic rheumatic heart disease through damaged heart valves, is responsible for more than 120 deaths a year.

4 thoughts on “Kiwifruit Dumped After Typhoid Scare, TB In Te Puke

  1. In Northland there have been six cases of meningitis this year, with four just in the past month.

  2. Kiwis love to decry all the diseases that “Third Worlders” bring to their pure country. They have plenty of their own Third World diseases. Fodder for N – do with what you will!

    Roger Tuck said hospital staff were rushed off their feet treating youngsters plagued with ailments including respiratory illnesses, skin and bone infections and “Third World diseases” such as rheumatic fevePoor housing, poor nutrition and being in close proximity to smokers were among “a whole bunch of complex factors” that contributed to children’s health, Dr Tuck said. The Paediatric Society of New Zealand urged the Government on almost a daily basis to look into poverty-related child heath issues, such as damp houses, overcrowding and unemployment before the point was reached where health services could no longer cope, Dr Tuck said.
    ou don’t find rheumatic heart disease in much of Europe or America any more. You do find a lot of it in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa – and in pockets of New Zealand.

    Winston Peters mentioned the meningitis epidemic, but the vaccines caused almost as many problems as they solved. Encephalitis is a problem.

    It is unfortunate that despite this candid story in the Northland paper, much of the material available on the web relates to triumphantly heralding new vaccines and New Zealand’s progressive stance on various medical issues. Authentic and current statistics themselves are actually hard to find.

  3. On Northland, on acute rheumatic fever, from the Bay of Plenty Times:

    * The Northland rate in 2010 of 10.3 per 100,000 was nearly three times higher than the national rate of 3.9 per 100,000.
    ***One in 100 children in Kaitaia (seven out of 636 screened children) had heart damage caused by previous undiagnosed rheumatic fever in a research project carried out last July***
    * The number of rheumatic fever cases in Northland is increasing.

    “New Zealand stands out from most other developed countries in continuing to have high rates of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD). ***It is estimated that 97% of cases of RHD worldwide occur in developing countries. it continues to be under-notified despite increasing rates each year***.

  4. Bacterial meningococcus kills an average of one Kiwi every two weeks. For a small population, that is a serious statistic. We were so surprised at all the posters and warnings about it at the time we migrated with our children. We had not realised it was such a problem, but it is. A vaccine was developed for a certain type, but there are numerous types. It protects against pneumococcal meningitis but not against meningococcal disease.

    On the bright side, remember poor Dr. Adu-Bobie, another migrant who (quite literally) lost limbs in New Zealand? Look at the places she went after getting out! 🙂

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