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 and “infected 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.