The Department of Conservation is warning trampers to avoid the Travers-Sabine circuit.
The first reports of the gastro virus came from people on the Travers Sabine circuit in the first week of January. Photo by Brian Stocks

Suspected gastro bug outbreak in National Park

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The Department of Conservation is warning trampers to avoid the Travers-Sabine circuit in the Nelson Lakes National Park because of a suspected norovirus outbreak.

DOC Nelson Lakes Operations Manager John Wotherspoon says since the weekend they 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.

“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.”

Cleaning crews will be sent in today to thoroughly disinfect the huts and bleach was placed into the huts over the weekend.

John says they will continue to monitor the situation and will step up their response if required.