Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Rockmelon recalled after listeria outbreak leaves two dead

Rockmelon recalled after listeria outbreak leaves two dead

Listeria infection is particularly unsafe for pregnant women, their unborn babies and elderly people. "Tragically, one of these cases has died", he said in a statement.

Rockmelon consumption has been linked to an outbreak of listeria.

NSW Health reported the outbreak of the bacterial infection on February 23 after an increase in reported cases across the state, before a connection to the fruit was made.

Australian Melon Association's Dianne Fullelove said the grower was devastated and would need to meet the requirements set by the NSW Food Authority before resuming production.

The NSW Food Authority has warned consumers most vulnerable to Listeria infection - such as older people and those with weakened immune systems due to illness or pregnancy - to avoid the fruit if they haven't checked its source, and throw it out if they already have rockmelon at home. It is believed the cases are all linked to a farm in New South Wales, although rockmelon on sale today has been tested and cleared.

Victoria's deputy chief health officer said five Victorians had been infected, and that one of those people had died after being hospitalised.

The infection is particularly risky to the elderly, pregnant women and people who have underlying health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart and kidney disease.

The symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.

The Victorian cases ages range from 65 to 88 and include three men and two women.

"Eating foods that contain listeria bacteria does not cause illness in most people, but in higher risk groups it can result in severe illness and even death so it's vitally important these people take extra care at all times", NSW Health's communicable diseases director, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said last week.

Food Standards Australia said that anyone who suspects they ate rockmelon prior to the recall and are feeling unwell should consult their local doctor as early as possible should symptoms appear.

The NSW Food Authority continues to investigate what caused the spike in listeria on the rockmelons.

Listeriosis is a rare illness caused by eating food contaminated with the listeria bacteria, which is common in some raw foods.

Have you had to throw out any rock melon?


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