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Toxic shellfish along the northern Hawke's Bay coastline

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Shellfish along the coastline, between Whareongaonga (approximately 22km north of Mahia) and Mohaka River, should not be eaten due to dangerous levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxin.

The Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) warning, initially issued on May 26, remains in place.

In the meantime:

Kina, mussels, toheroa, pipis, tuatua, oysters and cockles in the affected area should not be eaten;

Paua, crab, and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process;

Cooking affected shellfish does not remove the toxin;

Fish such as snapper, gurnard, and tarakihi are not affected by the algae and are still safe to eat.

Anyone eating toxic shellfish in closed areas could be at risk of serious illness. Symptoms of PSP can occur within 12 hours of eating affected seafood and can include:

Numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face and extremities first.

Difficulty swallowing, or breathing.

Headache, dizziness and double vision.

Severe cases may suffer respiratory arrest resulting in death if medical treatment is not immediately available.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from any area they should contact a doctor immediately and also advise HBDHB’s Public Health Unit on (06) 878 1329. The unit has sent information to doctors, community groups and other authorities in the region.

Warning signs in the extended closure area have been erected at main shellfish collection and boat launching sites.

Anyone wanting further information can phone the HBDHB’s Toxic Shellfish Information Line on (06) 878 1329. There is a pre-recorded message giving the latest sampling results, the status of the closure, and a facility for people to leave their contact details and a message if required.

Information on the closure will be posted and updated on the HBDHB website www.healthinhawkesbay.co.nz in the Public Health Unit area of the site.

Hawke's Bay Hospital visitors are urged to leave their germs at home.

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Hawke’s Bay Hospital is urging visitors and relatives of patients to stay away if they are unwell.

The hospital’s Chief Medical Officer John Gommans said there was a lot of flu like illness, along with coughs and colds, circulating in the community so if people were feeling unwell they should not visit friends or relatives in hospital.

"We have some very vulnerable patients in hospital whose immune systems aren’t very good so if anyone is feeling generally unwell, has a sore throat, a cough or a temperature it is best to stay away from visiting family or friends in hospital," Dr Gommans said.

Hawke’s Bay has seen a significant increase in flu like illness in the community, and it isn’t too late to have the influenza vaccine, which is free for people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, people with long term health conditions such as severe asthma, and children under five years who have been hospitalised for a respiratory illness. People with Downs syndrome and those with cochlear implants were now eligible for the vaccine. The vaccine programme has been extended until the end of August.

Tips to avoid catching the flu

If you feel unwell you can help reduce the spread of the virus by:

- Staying at home if you are unwell.

- Covering your cough or sneeze using disposable tissues.

- Regularly washing your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, and then dry your hands with a clean dry towel or paper towel.

- Contact your GP or local medical centre to get the influenza vaccine.

- Further information on general hygiene and influenza can be found at: 0800 Immune (0800 466 863) or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Two Napier retailers are fined for underage cigarette sales

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Selling cigarettes to minors has led to two Napier retailers being fined $500 each.

Essentials Ltd on Hastings St and Shakespeare Road Mini Market were caught in a controlled purchase operation during the just completed school holidays.

HBDHB Director of Population Health Caroline McElnay said 35 retailers were checked in Napier, Hastings and Havelock North, and it was disappointing to find two not taking their responsibilities seriously.

"Hawke’s Bay is in the unenviable position of second when it comes to regular youth smoking within New Zealand’s 20 DHBs, and we are determined to improve that situation.

"Preventing the uptake of smoking by minors is an important focus in achieving a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

"We will continue controlled purchase operations, so employers should ensure that they and their staff understand their obligations under the Smokefree Environments Act."

Recent statistics suggest that cigarette purchases by 14-15 year-old New Zealanders are predominantly made at dairies.

Tobacco Controlled Purchase Operations are held to monitor the level of compliance by tobacco retailers with the Smokefree Environments Act requirement that no tobacco products be sold to any person under 18. Any breaches of this act can result in an instant fine of up to $1000.

HBDHB are currently working with the Hawke’s Bay Smokefree Coalition on a new project to encourage retailers in the province to stop selling tobacco. If you are a retailer and are interested in becoming tobacco free contact Michele Grigg on 06 834 1815 for further information.

"Fewer tobacco retailers means children and young people are less likely to take up smoking, more people will become and stay smokefree, and the availability and visibility of tobacco in our communities will reduce," Dr McElnay said. "Being able to buy tobacco ‘anywhere, anytime’ makes it harder for people who want to stay smokefree. For some smokers, just the sight of a retail outlet prompts them to think about smoking or buying tobacco."

Toxic discharge costs Napier director thousands.

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Napier Slip Way director Richard Watson has been fined $7500 after contaminants were discharged into the inner city's harbour last year.

Mr Watson was sentenced in the Environment Court in Napier on Monday after his company was served an abatement notice in April last year.

On June 18 2014 a boat belonging to the company dropped its slip cradle into the water spilling contaminants into the harbour, close to a popular public aquatic recreational area.

An analysis of the water by the council later found traces of copper, tin, zinc and diuron.

BNI Wine Country in Hawke's Bay supports Cranford Hospice

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Today business group BNI Wine Country in Hawke’s Bay made a cash presentation of $2500 to Helen Blaxland, General Manager of Cranford Hospice. The business group has experienced tremendous growth this year, which has enabled them to increase their donations to this vital local charity that is operating in the same community as their businesses.

President for BNI Wine Country Terri Kayed and Owner of TK:DESIGN, notes that the business group has a strong and longstanding relationship with Cranford Hospice. "In the past we have raised money for hospice with special events such as the Big Breakfast and the Street Appeal, "Terri notes. "This $2500 donation is made up of members’ contributions collected each week at our networking meetings."

Terri says their group now consists of 42 businesses and the growth in membership this year has led to this significant donation for the Hospice. "We have experienced a surge also in completed business this year," Terri says. "We hope to finalise just under a million dollars in business between members in 2015 and are looking to make a second donation to Cranford Hospice before Christmas."

Helen Blaxland, General Manager for Cranford Hospice, spoke at the morning meeting where the donation was presented. "BNI and Hospice have a relationship going back over ten years at a national and local level," Helen says. "Dying as well as being a health issue is a grassroots community issue. Hospice and BNI New Zealand have shared values of people connecting with people and developing relationships based on trust so as to support our communities."

Helen says BNI's philosophy is about 'Givers Gain' and growing successful businesses within the community they operate in. "We are reliant on the business community to support us and we in turn support and strengthen it," she says. "Many business people have had a personal experience with hospice and so it’s fantastic to see this business group giving back in this way as they have grown stronger in our local community."

BNI Wine Country meets weekly from 7am Tuesdays at Off the Track restaurant in Havelock North.

Former Napier student helps Pacific colleagues hone their skills.

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Army nurse Captain (CAPT) Hayley Claridge, who grew up in Napier and now lives in Palmerston North, is spending much of the winter in warmer climes.

CAPT Claridge is working in several Pacific nations as a member of the New Zealand Defence Force contingent taking part in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) preparedness mission Pacific Partnership 2015 (PP15).

All but one member of the nine-strong contingent are aboard the high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket, which has just completed a two-week stay in Pohnpei, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Pohnpei was the second of Millinocket’s destinations for this year’s mission, the first being Kiribati. The ship is now in Solomon Islands, where the team is split between the islands of Guadalcanal and Malaita.

At each port of call her team is working with American and Australian colleagues conducting a wide range of medical engagements alongside local health providers.

While the team was in Pohnpei CAPT Claridge’s tasks included working at outreach clinics, mentoring clinic and hospital nurses as well as teaching Basic Life Support and other nursing skills to nurses, nursing students and support staff.

“It has been incredibly rewarding,” she said.

“The focus of what I do is to help improve the expertise of local nurses, so they can best help their communities not only in their day to day nursing care, but also to respond to crises such as severe weather events, which sadly the Pacific region is all too familiar with.”

CAPT Claridge was born in Portsmouth, England and moved to Napier with her family when she was seven. She attended Napier Girls' High School, studied at the University of Otago then completed her nursing training in Napier.

She joined the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps in 2002 and her operational deployments include service in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2005 Boxing Day tsunami.

“There are no two days alike in military nursing,” she said. “I love it, it’s a great career.”

The team is expected to return home at the end of July.

BACKGROUND TO PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2015 (PP15)

The purpose of the mission is to build capacity and resilience to disaster in Pacific nations as well as enhancing co-operation between partner nations.

As well as New Zealand and the US, Defence personnel from Australia, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Timor-Leste are involved this year. They are engaged in a variety of local outreach efforts in the seven host nations.

The host nations this year are Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, the Philippines and Vietnam. PP15 medical, dental, engineering and veterinary personnel team are assisting each host nation with a wide variety of projects designed to improve their capability and ability to respond to natural disasters, and build regional relationships.

Boy is released from Starship after fracturing his head at Napier Inflatable World

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The 10 year old boy who suffered severe head injuries while playing at a Napier indoor playground has been discharged from Starship Hospital but will need to take it easy for the next few months.

Zaybein Wathey fractured his skull in two places after he fell down a hole and landed head first on concrete at Napier's Inflatable World.

The boy was rushed to Starship Hospital after he started having seizures and is still suffering from violent headaches and fatigue.

An investigation by WorkSafe is currently underway and Napier Inflatable World has been closed temporarily.

Harsher penalties were needed say Hawke's Bay DHB

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Napier food manufacturer Bay Cuisine has been fined $130,000 for selling listeria-contaminated food to Hawke's Bay Hospital, but the District Health Board(DHB) wanted the company to face harsher penalties.

The Hawke's Bay DHB said they would have preferred the company faced more severe charges that reflect the seriousness of their actions.

In July 2012 the Hawke's Bay DHB discovered some of their ready-to-eat meat meals, supplied by Bay Cuisine, had been contaminated with listeria.

The listeria outbreak led to the death of 68-year-old Patricia Hutchinson and contributed to the death of an 81-year-old woman.

Following a long investigation process the company pleaded guilty last month to five representative charges of selling contaminated food, one charge of suppressing test results and one charge of omitting to provide information to the ministry.

Company director Garth Wise was fined $32,500, while company employee Christopher Mackie was fined $30,000.

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