Australians Told to Throw Out Rockmelon Following Listeria Outbreak, Deaths

Joy Montgomery
March 3, 2018

Ten elderly people across Australia, including six from NSW, were diagnosed with the infection after consuming rockmelon and becoming ill between 17 January and 9 February, the NSW Food Authority said on Wednesday.

"Tragically, one of these cases has died", Dr Sutton said.

There has been a third death linked to a national outbreak of listeria related to rockmelons.

Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health Dr Vicky Sheppeard has said that the four additional cases come from Victoria and Tasmania. Subsequent testing has linked them to the outbreak strain.

But authorities have withdrawn the affected melons from sale and distribution.

Affected fruit has been removed from supermarkets, but people may already have infected rockmelons in their homes and are being urged not to eat the fruit.

NSW Food Authority is advising consumers vulnerable to Listeria infection to avoid eating rockmelon.

Canberrans warned to throw rockmelon away following a serious listeriosis outbreak.

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This infection mostly affects pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and adults with weakened immune systems. In many cases, it travels around the environment without causing any harm, but it has proven to be deadly for these members of the public.

The outbreak started in Nericon, New South Wales, with the grower ceasing production last Friday after being informed that it could have been the source of the worrying virus.

NSW Health is continuing to work with the NSW Food Authority and other state and territory departments on the investigation into the outbreak.

The Victorian cases ages range from 65 to 88 and include three men and two women. The Food Authority is now investigating what went wrong and how long it will be until production resumes to normal.

Symptoms include fever, headaches, tiredness, muscle aches and sometimes gastrointestinal issues.

But the symptoms can take a few days or weeks to appear after eating contaminated produce.

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. If rockmelon has been cut and left at room temperature, for more than 2 hours, do not eat it - hate to sound wasteful, but you must throw it out!

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