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.
7/6/16 - Death Cap mushroom alert due to recent heavy rain
ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly, today alerted the community to the potential of Death Cap mushrooms growing around the ACT due to the recent heavy rainfall.
Dr Kelly said Death Cap mushrooms are extremely poisonous and can easily be confused with other wild mushrooms and the community are reminded not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms.
"Death Cap mushrooms are typically seen in Canberra from late March, although they can be seen at other times during the year dependant on weather conditions," Dr Kelly said.
"With the recent heavy rain and sunny days, we are reminding all Canberrans not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms and to pass this message on to family and friends who are visiting or new to Canberra.
"It can be extremely difficult, even for the most experienced collectors, to distinguish a small Death Cap mushroom from an edible mushroom. For this reason, all mushrooms should be purchased from a reputable supplier.
"All parts of the Death Cap mushroom are poisonous, and eating just one can be fatal. Cooking the Death Cap mushroom does not make it safe to eat.
"Anyone who suspects they may have eaten Death Cap mushrooms should seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department. The sooner treatment can begin, the better the patient’s chances of survival," Dr Kelly said.
In the last 16 years, there have been four fatalities associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT. During this period there have also been a number of poisonings associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT.
In Canberra, Death Cap mushrooms grow mainly near established oak trees in the wet, warm weather typically observed in late summer and autumn.
Important information about the Death Cap mushroom is available on the ACT Health website at http://www.health.act.gov.au/datapublications/fact-sheets/environmental-health
9/3/16 - Reports of expired EpiPen® devices supplied in cartons within expiry
ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly, is alerting the Canberra community to a discrepancy that has been found between the batch number and expiry date on EpiPen® Adrenaline Auto-Injector cartons and the batch number and expiry date on the EpiPen® device inside the cartons.
“I strongly encourage Canberrans to check the expiry date on any EpiPen® devices in their possession, including at home, at school and in the workplace, and compare it with the information on the carton,” Dr Kelly said.
”If the batch number and expiry date on the EpiPen® device is different to the batch number and expiry date on the EpiPen® carton, both the carton and the device should be returned to the place of purchase or their local pharmacy immediately for replacement.
“Importantly, this is also a timely reminder to users of EpiPen® Adrenaline Auto-Injectors that EpiPen® devices should not be used beyond their expiry date.
“ACT Health has written to pharmacies, general practices, dentists and other health care organisations within the ACT to ensure they are alerted to the issue and have all necessary information,” Dr Kelly said.
The EpiPen® Adrenaline Auto-Injector is used for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis due to insect stings, bites, drugs, foods or other allergens.
The products manufacturer, Alphapharm, notified the Therapeutic Goods Administration of the discrepancies earlier today and encourages customers to call 07 3000 6258 or 07 3000 6294, or email email@example.com for more information.
Consumers and health professionals can also visit the Therapeutic Goods Administration website at https://www.tga.gov.au/alert/epipen-300-microgram-adrenaline-injection-s...
5.2.16 - Pre-packaged Salad Leaves – Product Recall
ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today advised the community to be aware of an outbreak of salmonella gastroenteritis in Victoria, which has been linked to pre-packaged salad products grown and distributed by the Victorian-based company Tripod Farmer.
ACT Health is working closely with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions to monitor the situation.
The affected products are pre-packaged salad leaves that have use-by-dates on or before 14th February 2016. They are sold through Coles and Woolworths supermarkets under a range of product names. These products have been distributed nationally, including into the ACT.
“ACT Health is advising that this product should not be consumed. Consumers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund, or they should dispose of it,” Dr Kelly said.
“Salmonellosis is caused by the bacteria Salmonella. Symptoms of infection include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, fever, vomiting and headache. These symptoms usually start within 12 to 36 hours after exposure to the bacteria and most people are sick for 4 to 7 days.
“Anyone who may have consumed these products which have been recalled and is concerned about their health should seek medical advice from their general practitioner.
“There has not been a spike in the number of Salmonella cases in the ACT this year, as has been seen in Victoria. The ACT Health Protection Service has not identified any cases with the implicated strain of Salmonella in the Victorian outbreak (Salmonella anatum) this year,” Dr Kelly said.
Important information about the products being recalled is available on the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand website: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/foodrecalls/recalls/Pages/Pre-packaged-salad-leaves.aspx
Important information about Salmonellosis is available at: http://www.health.act.gov.au/datapublications/fact-sheets/communicable-diseases#Salmonella
3.2.16 - Death Cap mushrooms found in Canberra
ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today alerted the community that Death Cap mushrooms have been found in several locations in the ACT due to the recent wet weather.
Dr Kelly said in previous years, Death Cap mushrooms were typically seen in Canberra from late March. For the last two years Death Cap mushrooms have been found as early as February, due to lower temperatures and heavier than usual rain fall.
“In Canberra, Death Cap mushrooms grow mainly near established oak trees in the wet, warm weather typically observed in late summer and autumn. However this year, due to recent wet weather we’ve been alerted to mushroom sighting earlier than usual,” Dr Kelly said.
“In light of these sightings, I’m reminding the Canberra community that Death Cap mushrooms are extremely poisonous and can easily be confused with other wild mushrooms.
“People should not pick or eat any wild mushrooms. All parts of the Death Cap mushroom are poisonous, and eating just one can be fatal. Cooking the Death Cap mushroom does not make it safe to eat.
“It can be extremely difficult for even experienced collectors to distinguish Death Cap from an edible mushroom.
“Anyone who suspects they may have eaten Death Cap mushrooms should seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department. The sooner treatment begins, the better the patient’s chances of survival,” Dr Kelly said.
During the last 16 years, there have been a number of poisonings, including four fatalities associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT.
The community is reminded to remain vigilant and tell friends and family who are visiting or new to Canberra not to pick and eat any wild mushrooms. For safety, all mushrooms should be purchased from a reputable supplier.
Important information about the Death Cap mushroom is available at http://www.health.act.gov.au/datapublications/fact-sheets/environmental-health.
16.11.15 - Influenza Report
The numbers of influenza cases reported to ACT Health indicate decreased influenza activity in the month of October, consistent with expected seasonal patterns and national trends.
The Australian Influenza Report is compiled from a number of data sources, which are used to monitor influenza activity and severity in the community. These data sources include laboratory-confirmed notifications to NNDSS, influenza associated hospitalisations, sentinel influenza-like illness (ILI) reporting from general practitioners and emergency departments, ILI-related call centre calls and community level surveys and sentinel laboratory testing results.
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.
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.