Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Third person dies in Australia after bacteria outbreak linked to melons

Third person dies in Australia after bacteria outbreak linked to melons

The producers voluntarily ceased production last Friday, immediately after being notified of the potential link to illness.

Melons contaminated with a risky bacteria have left three people dead in Australia.

Of the five new cases, four are from Victoria, taking the total number of cases in the southern state to five, and one is from Tasmania.

The most recent case was diagnosed on February 22.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources told Reuters via e-mail that it was investigating whether any rock melons, also called cantaloupes, had been exported.

"All 15 cases are elderly people, and a lot of them have significant underlying health conditions", NSW Health's communicable diseases director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said in a statement on Friday.

Authorities say if people are unsure about the origin of a rockmelon, it should be disposed of in the waste bin, not into compost bins, to avoid further contamination.

The New South Wales Food Authority said the company whose rock melons had been contaminated with listeria is an exporter of produce.

Other foods that can pose a risk of listeriosis include cold salads, raw seafood and unpasteurised milk products.

The affected fruit has since been removed from supermarket shelves, but NSW Health is urging anyone who may already have rockmelons in their homes to throw them out.

The unidentified third victim died in Victoria on Friday, authorities said, following the deaths of two elderly people in New South Wales (NSW) earlier in the week.

The disease causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to nausea, diarrhea, infection of the blood stream and brain.

Those most susceptible to the disease are elderly people, pregnant women and their fetuses and people with weakened immune systems.

The outbreak has been traced to a farm at Nericon, near Griffith in the Riverina in NSW.

The effects caused by Listeriosis can be deadly especially to elderly people.

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