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Deadly superbug reaches NZ

Tuesday 30 Oct 2012 7:05 a.m.

An intestinal superbug that killed 14 people in Australia and thousands of others overseas has arrived in New Zealand.

Auckland hospital senior microbiologist Dr Sally Roberts confirmed to Radio New Zealand that clostridium difficile has been reported in New Zealand, although she was unaware of any severe cases as yet.

She said the bug can cause serious bowel damage.

A highly infectious and potentially deadly strain of clostridium difficile was identified in Australia in May 2010, and killed 14 people in the state of Victoria.

It has also killed thousands of people in Britain, North America and Europe in the past decade.

The normal strain of the bug is a common infection for patients in hospitals and nursing homes, and causes diarrhoea requiring a course of antibiotics.

However, the hypervirulent strain causes increased frequency, severity and relapse of infection.

NZN

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