Date: 04 January 2017
DOC Nelson Lakes Operations Manager John Wotherspoon says since the weekend we have identified 34 people from the track suffering vomiting and diarrhoea. Although there have been no reports of illness in other parts of the National Park - it is possible that the gastro bug has spread to huts in the nearby D'Urville and Matakitaki Valleys.
"We are working closely with the Nelson DHB Health Protection officer who believes it is highly likely to be norovirus.
"While it is not practical to close the circuit – we are now advising people to stay away from the area for at least a week to try and limit the outbreak. If they do enter they are advised to tent camp away from the huts and bury their toilet wastes at least 10m from the track and away from waterways.
"We are sending in cleaning crews tomorrow to thoroughly disinfect the huts. It has been pleasing to hear that trampers are taking precautions and using the additional sanitisers and bleach that we put into the huts over the weekend.
"There are notices at the track ends asking anyone who has been unwell to let us know and discouraging others from entering. Thankfully we have had no reports of serious illness beyond vomiting and diarrhoea but it is a nasty bug and the fewer people who are exposed to this, or out there spreading it further, the better.
"It's a busy time of the year and the huts are normally half to three quarters full. It usually takes people about five days to complete the circuit.
"We will continue to monitor the situation and will step up our response further if required." says Mr Wotherspoon.
Norovirus (vomiting and diarrhoea bugs)
DOC Nelson Lakes Operations Manager
Mobile: +64 27 839 7139