Camping trip linked to NZ student illnesses
Posted: March 29th, 2012 - 2:05pm by Ben Chapman
Camping wasn't a big part of my youth. My mom's idea of camping (or roughing it as she calls it) was a hotel that didn't have a working air conditioner. When I was a teenager we went camping a couple of times and rented a trailer in a campground beside Darien Lake (a Western New York amusement park). Most of my camping time was spent chasing girls around the park and riding roller coasters. I camped a few more times in high school - which really just meant underage drinking in the woods. And it always rained.
Last fall I was asked by a local boy scout troop to come talk about food safety on camping/canoe trips. I admitted early on about my lack of camping experience - and kept their attention with stories about barf and diarrhea. I also gave out candy. Gotta know your audience.
According to the New Zealand Herald, a camping experience has left at least 30 kiwi students and parents with some sort of gastro illness following a camping trip.
A school trip to Omatua Camp, near Rissington in Hawkes Bay, has resulted in about half the 30 youngsters and even some parents getting ill.
The school's assistant principal Jane Taylor said the group arrived at the camp on Wednesday last week but days later the sickness kicked in. A second planned school visit to the camp was cancelled as a result.
"They [health inspectors] advised us not to go until they had identified the cause of the illness," Ms Taylor said.
The Hawke's Bay District Health Board's Medical Officer of Health Lester Calder said health protection officers were presently carrying out tests to find what sparked the outbreak of gastroenteritis.
While the cause of the outbreak was a mystery at this stage, health inspection officers were adopting a precautionary approach by investigating the drinking water supply at the camp, and providing advice about improvements which may be needed for better drinking water protection.
I guess it wasn't just the lack of coffee, nice beds and air conditioning my mom was worried about - maybe she was trying to avoid foodborne illness.