Tests in New Zealand confirmed an elderly woman who died last week was suffering from the type of bacteria that tainted local tap water and sickened thousands of people in a small North Island town, officials said Friday.
Coroner Peter Ryan announced he had opened an investigation into the death of the 89-year-old woman in Havelock North. He said an autopsy revealed she had other health problems and it will take further testing to determine if the tainted water was a cause in her death.
An estimated 4,000 people in the town of 13,000 have contracted gastric illnesses since last week's outbreak of campylobacter bacteria. Seventeen people are being treated in a hospital, including two who are in critical condition.