Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Study survey’s health risk in NZ rivers

18 December 2020

Media Release

A pilot study gathering data on the human health risks posed by New Zealand rivers and streams is getting underway this summer.

Scientists from ESR are leading the pilot study analysing a range of pathogens in freshwater, to begin updating the data that quantifies the risks for people using them for recreation.

The Ministry for the Environment funded Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) pilot project will analyse samples from 16 freshwater sites from Northland to Southland.

The purpose of the pilot is to test methods for a comprehensive nationwide QMRA study, which if funded, is expected to begin in late 2020.

The last study of this type was a survey carried out over 20 years ago. That study informed New Zealand’s recreational water quality guidelines which were established in 2003. These are the principal guidelines used by regional and unitary councils to manage health risks posed by faecal pollution.

Scientists say that since the last national survey there have been significant changes in land use and waste management practises, which may have led to changes in the presence or abundance of pathogens in New Zealand’s freshwaters, or their relationship with the microbial indicators that are used for monitoring.

ESR microbiologist Dr Sarah Coxon says the most commonly recognised risk to human health posed by contact with freshwater is faecal contamination, which can contain a range of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa.

Dr Coxon says since the last full QMRA survey there have also been significant advances in laboratory analyses that allow more sensitive detection of pathogens, and characterisation of the risk they pose to people’s health.

“We need to ensure that the public health advice in the guidelines accounts for any change, and is correctly estimating the human health risk.”

The pilot will be analysing water samples for a range of pathogens including Campylobacter, Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, adenoviruses, enteroviruses, and noroviruses. The samples will be compared with indicator organisms E.coli and enterococci, as well as markers for sources of faecal identification.

The pilot gets underway in late January 2020 and results are expected in June 2020. The results will inform a full QMRA study which is expected to take around three years.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


TradeMe: Property Prices In Every Region Hit New High For The Very First Time

Property prices experienced their hottest month on record in December, with record highs in every region, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index.\ Trade Me Property spokesperson Logan Mudge said the property market ended the year with ... More>>

Motor Industry Association: 2020 New Vehicle Registrations Suffer From Covid-19

Chief Executive David Crawford says that like some other sectors of the New Zealand economy, the new vehicle sector suffered from a case of Covid-19. Confirmed figures for December 2020 show registrations of 8,383 were 25% ... More>>

CTU 2021 Work Life Survey: COVID And Bullying Hit Workplaces Hard, Huge Support For Increased Sick Leave

New data from the CTU’s annual work life survey shows a snapshot of working people’s experiences and outlook heading out of 2020 and into the new year. Concerningly 42% of respondents cite workplace bullying as an issue in their workplace - a number ... More>>

Smelter: Tiwai Deal Gives Time For Managed Transition

Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed to working on a managed transition with the local community,” Grant Robertson said. More>>


OECD: Area Employment Rate Rose By 1.9 Percentage Points In The Third Quarter Of 2020

OECD area employment rate rose by 1.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2020, but remained 2.5 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level The OECD area [1] employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – rose ... More>>

Economy: Strong Job Ad Performance In Quarter Four

SEEK Quarterly Employment Report data shows a positive q/q performance with a 19% national growth in jobs advertised during Q4 2020, which includes October, November and December. Comparing quarter 4, 2020, with the same quarter in 2019 shows that job ad volumes are 7% lower...More>>

NIWA: 2020 - NZ’s 7th-warmest Year On Record

The nationwide average temperature for 2020, calculated using stations in NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which began in 1909, was 13.24°C (0.63°C above the 1981–2010 annual average). New Zealand’s hottest year on record remains 2016, when... More>>

Quotable Value New Zealand: Property Market Set To Cool From Sizzling To Warm In 2021

Nostradamus himself could not have predicted the strange series of events that befell our world in 2020 – nor the wild trajectory of New Zealand’s property market, which has gone from “doom and gloom” to “boom and Zoom” in record time. Even ... More>>