[WATCH] Melon listeria claims third victim in Australia

Resident of Victoria is third person to die after two other people already lost their lives to the disease in New South Wales

A melon listeria outbreak in Australia has claimed its third victim, this time in the state of Victoria, after two persosn had already fallen victim to the malady in New South Wales.

Fifteen elderly victims have already been infected after consuming rock melon, also known as cantaloupe. Pregnant women, elderly and infants have all been warned to avoid eating already sliced melon.

The outbreak has been linked to a melon-grower in New South Wales, whose farm is located near the city of Griffith.

Vicky Sheppeard, director of communicable disease for the New South Wales Health Authority has warned people vulnerable with listeriosis to discard melons bought before the first of March.

 "People vulnerable to listeriosis should discard any rock melon purchased before 1 March,” Sheppeard said.

What is melon listeria?

Listeriosis is a sickness caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and is contracted through food infected with the bacterium.

The effects caused by listeriosis can be deadly especially to elderly people. The bacterium may cause septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes).

Those most susceptible to the disease are elderly people, pregnant women and their fetuses, and people with weakened immune systems.

Listeria can be spread by domestic pets, and is also found in water, soil and vegetation.

Previous outbreaks have been linked to the consumption of unprocessed milk, unwashed raw vegetables and cold chicken. 

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