WELLINGTON, April 4 (Xinhua) -- One person has died and 15 have been hospitalized with typhoid in New Zealand's biggest city, health authorities said Tuesday, as legislators asked questions about the handling of the outbreak.
The woman who died had been hospitalized with some serious health issues and the typhoid infection had been a "complicating factor," Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) clinical director Dr Julia Peters said in a statement.
The woman, who was a member of the Samoan Assembly of God Church at the center of the Auckland outbreak, had died in hospital on March 28.
Other confirmed cases linked to the outbreak were all members of the same church.
"We are working with the church to trace other people who may be infected and we are doing this while they are mourning the loss of one of their own," Peters said.
The ARPHS had delayed announcing the death to enable funeral arrangements to be concluded on Monday, she said.
It seemed likely that, as a group of cases emerged around the same time late last week, they had been infected at the same time or place.
Two other possible cases were awaiting test results.
The main opposition Labour Party suggested the underfunding of the health system was to blame.
"For health officials to say its localized is a nonsense as I have heard that the disease has been reported in cases across the city," Labour Party health spokesperson David Clark said in a statement.
"I have written to the Minister seeking assurances that he has directed the Ministry of Health to adequately support the Auckland Regional Public Health Service over this crisis."
Typhoid is spread primarily through food and water, but can be spread from person to person.
Symptoms include a high fever developing over several days, headaches, general weakness and muscle aches.
Stomach pain and constipation are also common, but some people get diarrhea.
Typhoid is potentially fatal, but can be treated with antibiotics.