HEALTH WARNING: Confirmed case of deadly disease on Coast
QUEENSLAND Health have today confirmed a case of listeria has been found on the Sunshine Coast.
It is one of three cases confirmed for the state, which has claimed the lives of two people in NSW after consuming contaminated rockmelon from a grower.
There are reports the two victims were hit by the bug after eating the fruit from a grower at Nericon in central-western NSW.
Ten others have been struck down by food poisoning caused by listeria after eating the contaminated fruit.
All states and territories are working together to investigate the current outbreak, which has hit six elderly people in NSW, one in Victoria and three in Queensland.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service confirmed they assessed a patient with the disease however the patient has been treated and has recovered.
A QH media spokesman said they were unsure whether the cases are linked and issued a statement.
"As at 25 February 2018, Queensland Health has received three notifications of listeriosis," the statement read.
"Last year (2017) for the same period there were 4 cases notified.
"All states and territories are working together to investigate the outbreak and to date they have identified ten cases in elderly patients in NSW (six), Victoria (one) and Queensland (three) with onset dates of illness between 17 January and 9 February 2018. All 10 cases consumed rockmelon prior to their illness.
"According to the NSW Food Authority, the NSW grower voluntarily ceased production on Friday 23 February 2018, shortly after being notified.
"Affected product is being removed from the supply chain. For more information, please contact the NSW Food Authority."
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.
Listeria is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, with the Victorian Health Department warning them to avoid eating rockmelon if they are unsure of its origin.
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.
But authorities have withdrawn the affected melons from sale and distribution.
Vulnerable people should avoid all foods that pose a risk of listeriosis, including:
- Pre-cut melons such as rockmelon or watermelon
- Pre-packed cold salads including coleslaw and fresh fruit salad
- Pre-cooked cold chicken, cold delicatessen meats, pâté
- Raw seafood, uncooked smoked seafood (e.g. smoked salmon)
- Unpasteurised milk or milk products, soft cheeses (e.g. brie, camembert, ricotta or blue-vein)
- Sprouted seeds or raw mushrooms.
What is listeria?
- Listeria is found widely in the environment and rarely causes serious illness in the general population but for vulnerable people, it can be extremely serious or even life threatening, the Food Authority said.
- Listeriosis starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes diarrhoea.
- The symptoms can take a few days or even up to six weeks to appear after eating contaminated produce. People at risk should consult their local doctor as early as possible should symptoms appear.