Previous Public Health Alerts

Alerts and Advisories which are no longer current, including alerts issued more than one year ago, can be found on this page.

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2016

ACT Influenza Reports 2016

23.02.17 – Dangerous Drug Warning for Canberrans

ACT Health are warning Canberrans to be aware of a dangerous and illicit substance that has been distributed to young people as an ecstasy-type ‘MDMA’ drug.

Calvary Hospital Emergency Department Physician and illicit drug expert, Dr David Caldicott, said the drug contains two highly potent compounds fluoroamphetamine, a substituted amphetamine and 25CNBOMe which is a dangerous hallucinogen. Together, these two products significantly increase the potential for harm.

“The drugs are being sold in capsule form, consisting of pink and clear capsules that contain brown coarse granular material.

“Every now and again we get a ‘bad batch’ of the drugs in Canberra, whether it’s ecstasy or heroin or amphetamines. However, this particular variety is of a very dangerous category of drug, which if consumed could be potentially fatal or at least cause serious health problems.

“The 25CNBOMe chemical is falsely referred to as synthetic LSD but is considerably more dangerous. Patients have been hurt and killed from both behavioural effects while hallucinating, as well as the toxicological effects on the circulation.

“Fluoroamphetamine is intermediate in effect between amphetamine and MDMA, and is associated with several reports of severe headache, severe cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications, including intracerebral haemorrhages, and even death.

“Anytime you decide to take illicit drugs you open up yourself to the potential of becoming critically ill, but this particular drug is extremely dangerous, which has prompted this health warning.

“The analysis was undertaken by the ACTINOS Group, a collaboration between ACT Emergency doctors, the ACT Government Analytical Laboratory and the Australian National University, found the drugs sample to be similar to those that caused multiple overdoses in Melbourne several weeks ago, only with the absence of MDMA.

“At this stage we do not know how widespread the distribution of these capsules might be, but we are consulting widely with our colleagues interstate. People in possession of these products should be aware that they have a high probability of causing harm if ingested, and they should dispose of them safely, and immediately.

“If members of the community have consumed capsules which they feel have effects different to what they expected, or just make them feel unwell, they should seek urgent medical advice from their General Practitioner or visit the hospital Emergency Department,” Dr Caldicott said.

For drug advice people can call the Alcohol and Other Drugs Services 24 Hour Helpline on 62079977. [Anchor] The 24 hour Helpline is staffed by professional workers who can provide information on drug and associated issues, as well as support for people managing their addiction.

If members of the community have any information regarding the purchasing, selling or manufacturing of illegal they should call ACT Policing Operations on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.  Information can be provided anonymously.

 

drug alert

Image taken by the ACTINOS Project, a project of the Australian Drug Observatory


23.02.17 – Food Recall 

A food recall is being conducted for sesame flavoured wheat puffs in the ACT and NSW due to undeclared peanut allergen. ACT Health advises that Ottovo International Trading P/L has recalled Wheat Pop Sesame Flavour from Chinese grocery stores in NSW and ACT due to undeclared peanut allergen.

Details are:

·         Wheat Pop, Sesame Flavour, plastic bag 400g

·         Best Before 25-10-2017

Any consumers who have a peanut allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed. The product can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

If you are concerned about your health you should seek medical advice.

For more information see http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/foodrecalls/recalls/Pages/Wheat-Pop-Sesame-Flavour.aspx

or contact Ottovo International Trading P/L on 02 9604 8886.


16.02.17 - Salmonella outbreak

The Health Protection Service (HPS) has identified an outbreak of Salmonella associated with two cafés, located in Belconnen and Gungahlin.

Staff from HPS have inspected both cafés and found issues related with food handling processes and procedures. HPS has served prohibition orders on both premises and is working with the cafés to address these issues.

The cafes will be closed until such time as the identified issues have been rectified. This action means that there is no ongoing risk to the health of the ACT population from these events.

Food safety is an important public health issue and this is a timely reminder of the importance of food safety, not only for food businesses, but everyone in the community.

As this is an ongoing investigation HPS is not in a position to provide the number of people affected.

ACT Health is not able to release details of food businesses that are subject to enforcement action or ongoing investigation as it could unreasonably affect the business affairs of registered proprietors, or unduly influence or impair future legal proceedings.

Information on Salmonellosis:

Salmonellosis is caused by an infection with the bacteria Salmonella. It causes a gastrointestinal illness with symptoms including fever, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting.  Salmonella is often spread through the consumption of poorly cooked or contaminated foods. Raw or undercooked eggs, meat and poultry are particularly high risk foods. People with health concerns should see their medical practitioner.

For more information on food safety visit:

http://www.health.act.gov.au/public-information/businesses/food-safety-regulation

http://www.health.act.gov.au/sites/default/files/Publications/Factsheets/Foodborne%20disease.pdf


10-11 February 2017: Health Advice during Potential Power Outages in the ACT

The extreme hot weather conditions have resulted in record electricity demand predicted across NSW on Friday 10 February and Saturday 11 February 2017. This, combined with constraints on the availability of black coal generation capacity in NSW, has the potential to give rise to minor supply shortfalls in the ACT. Power outages may have an impact on residents’ health, especially during very hot weather. 

For further information see Health Information fact sheet


15.12.16 - Mycobacterium chimaera in heater cooler units

ACT Health is alerting the community to an issue involving a specific brand of heater-cooler unit commonly used worldwide in open-heart surgery has been linked to a small number of cases of infection with an uncommon environmental bacterium called Mycobacterium chimaera.  The heater-cooler units are thought to have been contaminated with the bacteria during the manufacturing process in Europe.

For further information see Mycobacterium chimaera


25.11.16 – Influenza Report

Summary: The number of influenza cases being reported to ACT Health has largely returned to background levels. Of the 1,554 cases notified year to date, only 1.8% (n=28) occurred in the last fortnight. The majority of notifications during 2016 were influenza A (90.3%). Notifications have been highest in adults aged 30-49 years and children aged 0-9 years old. This is the final report for 2016.

Prior fortnightly ACT Influenza Reports can be found in the previous alerts section. For general information visit the Influenza in the ACT page in this alerts section.

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.


29.9.16 - Recall: Quality Bakers Australia Bread Rolls

The recall of certain Woolworths, Coles and IGA bread products has been initiated by the supplier in concert with the retailers in NSW and ACT.

If any consumers have purchased the products in question, ACT Health advises them not to eat the product and to return them to their place of purchase and receive a full refund in accordance with the recall advice.

Further information is available from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand


5.8.16 - Rockmelon warning – Product Recall

The Canberra community is today being advised not to consume rockmelon if they are unsure of the supplier. This follows confirmation the ACT has been a distribution point of the Salmonella contaminated rockmelon currently being recalled nationally.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly, said Northern Territory based company “Red Dirt” is currently undertaking a trade level recall of their product after detection of Salmonella bacteria by South Australian authorities on 2 August 2016. This has coincided with an investigation into the source of a national outbreak of a rare strain of Salmonella (Salmonella Hvittingfoss).

“With the investigation of the national outbreak and confirmation the ACT has been a distribution point of the contaminated product, I am today advising the community not to consume rockmelon if they are unsure of the supplier, in particular for infants, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems,” Dr Kelly said.

“There have been 97 reported cases of Salmonella Hvittingfoss nationally since the beginning of June 2016. Although the source of the outbreak at this stage is still unclear, consumption of rockmelon is common to many cases.

“Here in the ACT we have had two identified cases with Salmonella Hvittingfoss in recent weeks. Although it is thought they did not contract the illness in the ACT, with both reported travelling interstate prior to the onset of their illness, ACT Health Protection Service is actively monitoring the situation here in the ACT.

“We are also working with local retailers supplied by the company to ensure all contaminated rockmelon has been removed from the supply chain.

“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. Infants, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

“Anyone who may have consumed the recalled rockmelon and is concerned about their health should seek medical advice from their general practitioner,” Dr Kelly said.

This strain of Salmonella is uncommon in the ACT with just two notifications of Salmonella Hvittingfoss received between 2011 and 2015.

Important information about the products being recalled is available on the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand website: www.foodstandards.gov.au

Important information about Salmonellosis is available on the ACT Health website at: http://www.health.act.gov.au/datapublications/fact-sheets/communicable-diseases#Salmonella


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 product.complaints@alphapharm.com.au  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

Media Statement


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.   

Media Statement

2015

ACT Influenza Reports 2015

For information about influenza in the ACT in 2015, please see reports below.

 

11.04.15 - Canberra Patient's First Test Results Negative

ACT Health ACT Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Pengilley this morning said the first Ebola test conducted on a female patient at Canberra Hospital has returned a negative result.

“This is the first of two tests that are undertaken as part of the Ebola protocols followed by ACT Health. The next will be conducted tomorrow morning with the results expected on Monday (13 April).

“In addition to the good news that the first test is negative, I can also advise that overnight the patient’s condition has improved.

“I would again stress to the community that we are being overly cautious, however we will be remaining vigilant until the final tests results are confirmed on Monday,” Dr Pengilley said.

Today’s statement follows yesterday’s announcement that ACT Health today confirmed that as a precautionary measure a person who recently returned from West Africa has been admitted into the dedicated Canberra Hospital isolation ward.

The precautionary admission was a result of ACT Health’s monitoring program. The medical professional who had been working in Liberia, has been undergoing monitoring since their return from overseas as required by ACT Health procedures.

As a precautionary measure ACT Health has advised family members to stay at home.

There have been no cases of Ebola Virus Disease in Australia.

The next media update will be when the tests results are received on Monday morning.

Ebola facts

  • Only people that have been in direct contact with body fluids of people who are unwell with Ebola or infected animals are at risk of contracting the disease.
  • Ebola is not infectious in people without symptoms of the disease, and therefore, well people pose no risk of infection to others.
  • Ebola cannot be spread by casual social contact with a person during the incubation period.
  • Canberra Hospital is equipped to deal with a suspected or confirmed case and is finalising comprehensive plans to ensure a high level of preparedness and response is available.

17.02.15 – Consumer Health Notice – Coles Gungahlin

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly has advised that a consumer health notice has been issued on all in-store baked Coles brand bakery products, baked between 1 November 2014 and 16 February 2015 purchased Coles at Gungahlin.

This is following information from a member of the public who found a piece of metal in the bread. It appears to have been contaminated by fragments of metal wire originating from a piece of bakery equipment. Coles were informed and immediately suspended all bread making onsite as well as clearing the shelves of the product.

Following an onsite investigation, ACT Health inspectors decided that as a precautionary measure all bakery items baked during this period should not be consumed. ACT Health encourages people to check their fridges and freezers for bakery products including all Coles’ fresh-baked loaves, rolls, buns and scrolls that were baked during this time.

There are no concerns for any other bakery items purchased at other Coles’ stores, as these goods are baked on site.

There are no concerns for any other bakery items purchased at other Coles’ stores, as these goods are baked on site.

Coles has advised that they will be refund all Coles baked bread that is taken back to the Gungahlin store. For further information customers can call Coles Customer Care (toll free) 1800 061 562.


17.02.15 – Measles Case Notified in ACT

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today alerted Canberrans to be aware of measles symptoms after a case who acquired the infection on a recent overseas trip was notified to ACT Health on Tuesday 17 February 2015.

Identified contacts are being followed up in line with national guidelines. Members of the public may also have been exposed to the case at Woolworths at Conder on 12 February 2015 between 7.30pm and 9pm.

Anyone who attended this shopping centre should be aware for symptoms and seek medical advice if they develop symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of measles should advise their health provider before they arrive at the medical clinic so that appropriate infection control precautions can be put in place to stop the spread of the infection.

The symptoms of measles may 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.

More information:


17.02.15 – Food Recall – Frozen Berries

ACT Health has received advice that Patties Foods Ltd is recalling several brands of Frozen Berry packs from Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other independent supermarkets, due to potential Hepatitis A contamination.

Brands include:

  • Nanna’s Mixed Berries (Frozen) 1kg packs. The affected products are all batches up to and including best before 22 November 2016.
  • Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries. The affected products are all batches of 300g packets with a best before date up to and including 10 December 2017 and 500g packets with a best before date up to and including 6 October 2017
  • Nanna’s frozen raspberries 1kg packets, all batches up to and including best before dates of 15 September 2016

These products should not be consumed and consumers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. People should check their fridges/freezers for these products

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus. Symptoms of infection include abdominal pain, nausea, fever, yellow skin and eyes (jaundice) and/or dark urine and pale faeces. These symptoms usually start within 28-30 days of exposure to the virus but this can range from 15-50 days. Anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice from their GP.

ACT Health is working closely with other jurisdictions to investigate the outbreak of Hepatitis A.

See the following links:

  • More information about the recall is available on the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand website
  • More information about Hepatitis A is available here
  • A Fact Sheet and information for GPs is available here
  • Media Release

2014

ACT Influenza Reports 2014

For information about influenza in the ACT in 2014, please see reports below.

22.08.14 - Measles case notified in Canberra

Acting ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Pengilley has alerted Canberrans to be aware of measles symptoms after a case was notified to ACT Health on Friday 22 August 2014.

Health Protection Service (HPS) is following-up identified contacts in line with national guidelines. People who may have been exposed to the case include:

Anyone who attended the Calvary Hospital Emergency Department on Thursday 21 August between 12.30pm and 6.30pm; and

Anyone who attended the 5.30pm service at the Life Unlimited Church in Charnwood on Sunday 17 August 2014.


18.07.14 - Measles case notified in Canberra

A/g ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Pengilley today alerted Canberrans to be aware of measles symptoms after a case was notified to ACT Health on 18 July 2014. The case had acquired their infection overseas.

The Health Protection Service is following-up identified contacts in line with national guidelines.

People who may have been exposed to the ACT case include anyone who may have been at the Kaleen Plaza/Supabarn between 10 am and 12 noon on Wednesday 16 July 2014

ACT Health is advising anyone who attended these venues to be aware for symptoms and to seek medical advice if they develop symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of measles should advise their health provider before they arrive at the medical clinic so that appropriate infection control precautions can be put in place to stop the spread of the infection.

The symptoms of measles may 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

See the following links:


27.04.14 - Death Cap mushrooms not from Woolworths

ACT Health has been working closely with Woolworths and ACT Policing to investigate three cases of Death Cap mushroom poisoning that occurred in the ACT.

Investigations by ACT Policing in the last 24 hours have found no evidence that the Death Cap mushrooms consumed by the patients were purchased from Woolworths in Dickson.


27.04.14 - Update on Death Cap mushroom poisoning

ACT Health is continuing to investigate the death cap mushroom poisoning that occurred in the ACT.

People are reminded not to pick and eat any wild mushrooms as it can be extremely difficult to distinguish Death Cap mushrooms from other edible mushrooms.


26.04.14 - Possible Death Cap mushroom poisoning

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly has advised that ACT Health is investigating three cases of possible Death Cap mushroom poisoning.

Investigations are still ongoing as to the source of the Death Cap mushrooms, however the patients affected have claimed to have purchased mushrooms from Woolworths in Dickson, on or around the 17th of April 2014.


17.04.14 - Avoid mosquitoes this holiday season

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly has urged ACT residents to protect themselves against mosquitoes following recent heavy rains and detections of mosquito-borne viruses in NSW.

"ACT Health is advising Canberrans to avoid exposure to mosquitoes over these Easter holidays as increasing numbers of mosquitoes carrying viruses have been detected in certain parts of NSW, particularly around bush areas in and around Sydney, as well as regional and rural NSW," Dr Kelly said.


10.02.14 - Bushfire Smoke Warning

Acting ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Moira McKinnon today alerted Canberrans to the presence of a large body of bushfire smoke originating from Victoria currently affecting the air quality of the ACT and surrounding regions. Due to the number of active bushfires interstate it is possible that bushfire smoke may persist in the ACT for several days. ACT Health advises that vulnerable persons should remain alert to the conditions and take appropriate precautions until the smoke dissipates and the ACTs air quality improves.”

For more information about the health impacts of bushfire smoke, see:


07.02.14 – More Extreme Heat Forecast for the ACT this weekend and into next week

With another prolonged hot spell on the way, ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly once again urged Canberrans to not become complacent to the health risks of extreme heat, and to take precautions to protect themselves against the hot conditions expected next week.

ACT residents are encouraged to monitor family, friends and neighbours for symptoms of heat stress and implement some simple strategies to stay healthy during this heat event.

See the following links:


04.02.14 - Bushfire Smoke Warning

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly today alerted Canberrans to Bushfire smoke impacting the ACT. A fire burning north of Cooma has resulted in the dispersal of the smoke over the ACT and surrounding regions.

Bushfire smoke particles can aggravate existing lung conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and some cardiac conditions. Some simple precautions should be taken by people with these conditions to limit exposure. If ACT residents experience symptoms that may be due to bushfire smoke exposure, they should seek medical advice.

For more information about the health impacts of bushfire smoke, see:


31.01.14 - Measles case notified in Canberra

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today alerted Canberrans to be aware of measles symptoms after a case was notified to ACT Health on Friday 31 January 2014. The case had acquired their infection overseas.

This is the second case of measles to have occurred in the ACT since mid December. The two cases are not linked.

The Health Protection Service (HPS) is following-up identified contacts in line with national guidelines.

People who may have been exposed to the ACT case include:

  • Anyone who attended the Rose Cottage Restaurant at Gilmore on Saturday 25 January 2014 after 5.30pm;
  • Anyone who attended the Canberra Church of Christ in Weston on the morning of Sunday 26 January 2014;
  • Anyone who was at Westfield Woden on Monday 27 January 2014 between 3pm and 6pm;
  • Anyone who was at Centrelink in Tuggeranong on Tuesday 28 January 2014 between 9.30am and 1pm;
  • Anyone who was at the Tuggeranong Hyperdome on Tuesday 28 January 2014 between 11am and 3pm; and
  • Anyone who was at Canberra Hospital’s Emergency Department on Thursday 30 January between 8pm and 10pm.

ACT Health is advising anyone who attended these venues to be aware for symptoms and to seek medical advice if they develop symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of measles should advise their health provider before they arrive at the medical clinic so that appropriate infection control precautions can be put in place to stop the spread of the infection.

See the following links:


31.01.14 – Keep cool this weekend

With temperatures set to soar in the ACT this weekend, ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly and Acting Chief Officer ACT Ambulance Service Mr Howard Wren, urged Canberrans planning to attend outdoor events or playing sport to take precautions to protect themselves against the extreme heat.

"Keeping cool and hydrated is the key to staying safe and healthy. Spending long periods in the sun without taking the proper precautions can lead to heat illness and heat stress," Dr Kelly said.

People displaying the symptoms of heat exhaustion including nausea, dizziness, fainting, weakness, headaches, vomiting and loss of sweating should be assisted to seek urgent medical attention by calling triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

See the following links:


28.01.14 – Extreme Heat Forecast for the ACT this Week

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly and ACT Ambulance Service Acting Chief Officer Mr Howard Wren today warned Canberrans that prolonged extreme heat conditions are again forecast for the ACT this week from Wednesday 29 January lasting until at least Monday 3 February 2014.

“We are all susceptible to heat-related stress and illness, which can range from mild to very serious. However, the elderly, young children and babies are most at risk during heat events.”

ACT residents are encouraged to monitor family, friends and neighbours for symptoms of heat stress and implement some simple strategies to stay healthy during this heat event.

See the following links:


13.01.14 – Extreme Heat Forecast for the ACT this Week

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly and ACT Ambulance Service Chief Officer Mr David Foot today warned Canberrans that prolonged extreme heat conditions are forecast for the ACT this week from Tuesday 14 January until Saturday 18 January.

“We are all susceptible to heat-related stress and illness, which can range from mild to very serious. However, the elderly, young children and babies are most at risk during heat events.”

ACT residents are encouraged to monitor family, friends and neighbours for symptoms of heat stress and implement some simple strategies to stay healthy during this heat event.

See the following links:


10.01.14 – Extreme Heat Forecast for the ACT Next Week

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly and ACT Ambulance Service Chief Officer Mr David Foot today alerted Canberrans to the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast for prolonged heat conditions occurring in the Territory from next week.

Every year many Australians suffer from heat-related stress and illness which can range from mild to very serious.

ACT residents are encouraged to stay healthy in the heat. Find out who is at risk and how you can prepare for and cope during a heat event.

See the following links:


09.01.14 - Measles case notified in ACT

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly today alerted Canberreans to be aware of measles symptoms after a case was notified to ACT Health. This is the first notified measles case in the ACT since 2011.

The affected person attended the "World Supremacy Battlegrounds" Hip Hop dance competition at Sydney Olympic Park on 7-8 December 2013.

People who may have been exposed to the ACT case include:

  • Anyone who attended Calwell High School on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 December 2013;
  • Anyone who was at the Harem Turkish Restaurant in Kingston from 6.30pm on Thursday 19 December 2013; and
  • Anyone who visited the Capital Chemist in Kingston on Friday 20 December 2013 after 4.00pm.

The symptoms of measles may 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.

See the following links:

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2013

ACT Influenza Reports 2013

For information about influenza in the ACT in 2013, please see reports below.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) - Update for Clinicians, laboratories and public health personnel.

For information regarding the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), please contact the Communicable Disease Control Section on (02) 6205 2155. Further information is also available from the Australian Government Department of Health website.


Salmonella Outbreak in the ACT

In May 2013 Canberra experienced an outbreak of gastroenteritis, in some cases caused by Salmonella bacteria.
A large number of people became unwell enough to require medical assessment and treatment.

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2012

Health Directorate Issues Bat Warning

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said today that in the past week the ACT Health Directorate has received a number of requests for anti-rabies treatment for people who have been bitten or scratched by bats. These injuries have occurred when people are picking up bats that appear injured.


Measles increase in NSW, not yet in ACT

Health Directorate advises that more than 70 cases of laboratory-confirmed measles have been reported in NSW in the past few months and the numbers are expected to increase; however no cases of measles have been reported in the ACT.

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2011

Measles in the ACT

This week, two people were diagnosed with measles in the ACT. These people have no known links to the recent measles outbreak associated with an ACT school.


Gastro Incident Investigations

Health Directorate is currently investigating an outbreak of Salmonella gastroenteritis linked to a Canberra food business.


Measles at Orana Steiner School

The ACT Health Directorate has been notified of measles in students from the Orana Steiner School in Weston. This suggests that exposure to measles has occurred in the general community and is possible that there may be additional cases of measles over the next few weeks.


Hepatitis A at a Canberra School

Please see this Health Directorate information about a Hepatitis A incident in the ACT.


Flu Vaccination Reminder

Vaccination is the single most effective action to prevent the spread of influenza in the community.


Prohibition of Products containing Synthetic Cannabis

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly stated today that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced that it has taken measures to ban a range of synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic cannabis) under Commonwealth law, which will come into effect from 8 July 2011.


Health Alert Issued re: Restaurant

Health Directorate issued a public health alert today because a food handler has been diagnosed with Hepatitis E.


Death Cap Mushroom Warning

The Death Cap mushroom is a deadly poisonous introduced fungus responsible for 90% of all mushroom related deaths.


Health Directorate Issues Bats Warning

Health Directorate has received a number of requests for anti-rabies treatment in recent weeks for people who have been bitten or scratched by bats.


Slimming Products Health Warning

Health Warning: Do not consume Slimming Seed products.


Rotavirus and Intussusception

Recent studies in Australia and overseas suggest that there is a small increase in the risk of intussusception among babies in the first one to seven days after receiving the first dose of rotavirus vaccine. Studies are continuing to check this and to determine whether the increased risk extends past the first week or occurs after other doses. For more information go to the [Immunise Australia website]- http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/


Information for Parents


Information for Health professionals


Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

An increase in the incidence of pertussis has been observed in the ACT over the last six months. A similar increase has been observed in NSW. Current information on numbers of cases can be found on the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System website. The NSW Health website also contains some important information about preventing the spread of pertussis.

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2010

Recall of weight loss products

The Health Directorate today confirmed that three brands of weight loss product have been found by the NSW Food Authority to contain sibutramine. Sibutramine is a prescription medicine which is not permitted in foods, and which was recently withdrawn from sale in Australia due to concerns regarding the safety of the drug.

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Further Information

A series of factsheets are available on various health matters, including diseases and key environmental health issues. These factsheets are produced by ACT Government Health Directorate Health Protection Service.

More information can be obtained from the Population Heath Division.