4 Aug 2009

Warning for Auckland beaches in wake of animal deaths

9:54 pm on 4 August 2009

Public health officials are warning people not to swim in Auckland's east coast beaches because of a mystery illness that has killed some dogs.

At least two dogs have died after walking on North Shore beaches and several more have been ill, with new reports of illness on beaches further south.

Two dogs have died in the past few weeks and many have become ill after visiting Browns Bay and Cheltenham beaches.

There have also been reports of animals becoming ill in beach areas of Rodney, Waiheke Island and eastern Manukau City.

Penguins, sea-birds and fish have washed up dead on shores around the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service says people should not go in the water and children should avoid the beaches altogether.

People are also advised not to eat fish or shellfish from the sea in these areas.

Health officials say the measures are precautionary as they await tests from a veterinary pathologist examining a dog that died on Monday.

The tests are expected to take about two days.