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Chief health officer to release Herberton Hospital interim report

An interim report into the human metapneumovirus outbreak at Herberton Hospital will be released late next week.

Seven residents of Herberton Hospital, a 38-bed aged and palliative care facility, have died this year.

The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (HHS) has indicated that one of those who died tested positive to the virus, while several others displayed symptoms consistent with the virus.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young is currently reviewing the response to the viral outbreak.

Dr Young said she would release an interim report detailing her findings to date but more work was needed following recent deaths in the facility.

“This is an incredibly sad event and our condolences go to those affected,” she said.

“I have met with several families, local staff and other stakeholders as part of my review.

“The best approach is to finalise the report once we know any outbreak is over but I still believe there is value in releasing an interim report.”

Dr Young said the Cairns and Hinterland HHS was taking appropriate infection control precautions to minimise the risk of further cases.

There is no increased risk to the broader community.


Viral infections including those caused by human metapneumovirus are common in the community. The virus is spread person to person.

Most people experience mild symptoms including cough, runny nose or nasal congestion, sore throat and fever.

However, vulnerable people, including the elderly, may suffer more serious respiratory illness which can sometimes lead to death.

Last updated: 5 February 2016