Listeriosis has claimed the lives of four people in Australia in the last month.

A farm in New South Wales, Australia, which produces rock melon or cantaloupes, has been fingered as a source for the deadly bacteria’s outbreak, the farm in question has been closed since. An inquiry is currently being conducted, as confirmed by the website of the state’s food authority.

Thus far, 17 cases of listeriosis have been confirmed in Australia. All four of the confirmed deaths were above the age of sixty-five. The provinces of Victoria and Tasmania, in the south-east of Australia, are the only areas where cases were reported.

The case of the listeriosis-infected melons was brought to the attention of Australian health officials in February.

According to Vicky Sheppard, Director of Communicable Diseases at New South Wales Health, all contaminated rock melons were recalled from the market on the 28 February. She also adds that a third of people who are infected with listeria die each year. However, most cases are not as severe as the the current rock melon contamination, as four cases of confirmed listeriosis-implicated deaths have already been confirmed.

Channel News Asia (CNA) have also confirmed that two consignments of rock melon from New South Wales have been sold to Singapore, prompting fears that the bacteria may also strike there.

According to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), two consignments were sold to Singapore between the 12 February and 2 March. The rock melons from these consignments were sold at Sheng Siong supermarket outlets and wet markets in the country, but have since been recalled.

AVA has also taken samples of locally-sold rock melon from other sources for food safety tests, including testing for listeriosis. Rock melon currently for sale in Singapore are not implicated in the recall.

This listeria outbreak in South Africa has everyone in a panic. It has claimed the lives of 180 people since January of 2017 and left 940 affected, with the majority of deaths occurring in the Gauteng province. The Western Cape has the second-highest number of recorded cases of listeria in the country.

The outbreak was narrowed down to Enterprise’s Polokwane facility. Operations have been suspended at this facility, as well as the Germiston facility.


Picture: Unsplash

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.