Public Health Alerts

Visit this Alerts page regularly to keep abreast of the latest health developments in our region as they unfold. On this page you will find important information on public health issues in the ACT.

Current Alerts

01.03.2018 – Listeriosis warning for rockmelons


ACT Health is advising people who are at high risk of listeria infection to avoid eating rockmelon, following a sudden increase in cases of listeriosis in other jurisdictions. To date, 10 cases have been reported in elderly people in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland. All cases reported eating rockmelon prior to becoming unwell.

There have been no cases reported in the ACT so far this year.

State and territories across Australia are working together to investigate the outbreak, which has been linked to a rockmelon grower in NSW. All affected product is being removed from the supply chain and the company has voluntarily ceased production.

Listeriosis is a serious illness caused by bacteria called Listeria and infection usually occurs from eating contaminated foods. The bacteria can be present in raw foods or foods may become contaminated after processing or cooking.

Those considered to be at high risk for listeriosis include:

  • pregnant women;
  • elderly people; and
  • people with underlying health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and HIV.

These people should avoid eating rockmelon and also discard any rockmelon they may already have in their home.

People at risk should consult their local doctor as early as possible should symptoms appear. Symptoms include:

  • fever;
  • headache;
  • tiredness;
  • muscle aches; and
  • sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms.

For more information see:


02.11.2017 – Second case of measles notified to ACT Health

Dr Paul Kelly, ACT Chief Health Officer, is urging Canberrans to be aware of the symptoms of measles after two cases have been confirmed in the last 2 weeks.

The second case of measles notified to ACT Health visited several public locations in Canberra while infectious, prior to their diagnosis.

Specific exposure sites include:

Thursday 26 October 2017

Spar Express Supermarket - Ngunnawal Shopping Centre 

IGA Ngunnawal - Ngunnawal Shopping Centre

Coles Amaroo – Amaroo Village

Friday 27 October 2017

Ngunnawal Pharmacy - Ngunnawal Shopping Centre - approximately 3.00pm

Kmart Gungahlin - Gunghalin Shopping Centre - from 4.00pm – 5.00pm

Hogs Breath Café - Woden – from 8.00pm – 09.30pm

Sunday 29 October 2017

Coles Gungahlin – Gunghalin Village - approximately 6.00pm

Cold Rock Gungahlin - Gunghalin Village - from 6.00pm – 6.45pm


The first case of measles notified to ACT Health visited the following locations:

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Asian Noodle House -Dickson - 7.00pm - 8.30pm

Chemist on Northborne – Canberra City - 7.45pm and 8.45pm

We strongly encourage people who were in the same locations as these cases to keep a close watch for symptoms. These include fever, tiredness, runny nose, sore eyes and a cough, followed by a rash, which appears 2-7 days later.

People generally develop symptoms 7-18 days after being exposed to a person with infectious measles, with 10 days being more common.  People are infectious from 5 days before they develop a rash until 4 days after.

Link to media release

Information about measles can be found at:


03.05.2017 - Recall of Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS) System

ACT Health is alerting the community to the hazard alert and recall for Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS) System that has been issued by Abbott Vascular Australia, in consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Absorb BVS System is an implanted medical device (stent) that opens blocked coronary arteries and is fully absorbed by the body overtime.

The device is also being removed from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

The decision to undertake this recall is in response to data from some recent studies showing an elevated rate of major adverse cardiac events, specifically heart attack and blood clot, when compared to patients treated with another alternate stent.

ACT Health is advising people who have received an Absorb BVS System and are concerned to talk to their health professional to ensure that they are receiving appropriate treatment and know the signs and symptoms of heart attack and blood clot.

If people are experiencing any new cardiac-related symptoms, such as irregular heartbeats, chest pain, or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention.

In the coming days, ACT Health will be providing any effected patients further information and advising them to speak with their health professional.

Abbott Vascular Australia has written to health professionals who have implanted Absorb BVS System to provide them further information about this issue, including details of the recall procedure.

Consumers and Health Professionals with concerns about this issue are also advised they can contact Abbott Vascular Australia on 1800 550 939.

Further information about the recall is available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website at:

11.04.17 – Death Cap mushrooms found in Canberra

Death Cap mushrooms

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today alerted Canberrans that Death Cap mushrooms have been found in the ACT.

“Death Cap mushrooms are extremely poisonous and can be easily confused with other wild mushrooms”, Dr Kelly said.

With the recent wet weather, Death Cap mushrooms have been found in several locations across Canberra. They grow mainly near established oak trees in mild, moist weather.

The Chief Health Officer warned the public not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms.

All parts of the Death Cap mushrooms are poisonous and eating even part of a mushroom could be fatal. It is also important to note that cooking the Death Cap mushroom does not make it safe to eat.

Anyone who suspects they may have eaten a Death Cap mushroom should seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department.

The sooner treatment begins, the better the patient’s chances of survival.

Since 2002, there have been four fatalities associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT. During this time, there have also been a number of poisonings associated with Death Cap mushrooms.

The community is reminded to remain vigilant and tell friends and family who are visiting or new to Canberra not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms. For safety, purchase all mushrooms from a reputable supplier.

A Fact Sheet providing important information about the Death Cap mushroom is available online.


04.04.17 – Food Recall


  • Organix Finger Foods Baby Biscuits 54g
  • Creamy Vanilla Baby Biscuits - Best Before (all dates up to and including) 10.10.2017
  • Strawberry Baby Biscuits - Best Before (all dates up to and including) 05.10.2017
  • Banana Baby Biscuits - Best Before (all dates up to and including) 13.09.2017

Food Recall, Organix Finger Foods

A recall of the above products is being conducted. The products have been available for sale at Coles and Woolworths Nationally.

Problem: The recall is due to a potential choking hazard

Food safety hazard: The product can crumble into pieces which may pose a potential choking hazard

What to do: Consumers should not eat these products and should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information please contact: Organix Customer Care 0044 (0) 800393511

Previous Alerts

To view Alerts and Advisories that are no longer current, including alerts issued more than a year ago, visit the previous alerts section of this website.

Further Information

To find out more, visit the Population Health section of this website.

You can find information about consumer food recalls on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.