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

03.09.15 - Influenza Report

The numbers of influenza cases reported to ACT Health indicate increased influenza activity in the month of August, consistent with expected seasonal patterns and national trends.

ACT Influenza Report to 12 September 2015

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.

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

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.