Officials with New South Wales (NSW) Health report today on an additional fatality linked to listeriosis.
The most recent death is a NSW woman in her 90s with significant underlying health conditions. This brings the case count/death toll across Australia to 19 and six, respectively.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health said the woman had developed listeriosis before the outbreak was identified.
“There have been no new cases notified associated with the outbreak in NSW since 19 February when it was first identified,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“It is still possible that more cases will be linked to the outbreak given the incubation period for the disease is up to 70 days, however there is no ongoing risk of listeriosis from rockmelons now on sale.
“It is important to know that people fall ill with listeriosis every year but most of the cases are never related to an outbreak like we are seeing. Sadly, up to one third of those who do contract the disease will die.”
Listeria is found widely in the environment and rarely causes serious illness in the general population but for vulnerable people, such as those who are over 70, pregnant, or have diabetes or suppressed immune systems, it can be extremely serious or even life threatening.
Once the investigation identified the source of the infection – rockmelons from a single farm – these rockmelons were immediately recalled from market.
“People at risk of listeriosis should always take care with handling and storage of food, including not purchasing pre-cut melons, salads, bagged lettuce, deli meats, raw seafood and sprouted seeds,” Dr Sheppeard said.
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