NZ health authorities issue poison alert


New Zealand health ministry officials today issued a public alert for cases of "deliberate chemical poisoning" in the wake of cyanide threats against visiting golfing superstar Tiger Woods.

Last week the US embassy in Wellington received a letter laced with cyanide, said to threaten Woods who is taking part in the New Zealand Golf Open.

Advice on how to minimise the risks associated with chemical poisoning has been sent to district medical officers of health and health protection staff.

The ministry's deputy director of public health, Don Matheson, said in a statement the advice was timely, "given the events of September 11th last year".

Matheson said the risk of chemical poisoning in New Zealand was still considered low but it was being treated as a possibility after the US embassy letter.