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Listeriosis in Australia

11 Apr 2018

On 9 April 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported an outbreak of listeriosis associated with the consumption of rockmelons (cantaloupe) from a single grower. The Australian National Focal Point (NFP) had notified WHO on 2 March 2018.

From 17 January 2018 through to 6 April 2018, 20 outbreak cases (19 confirmed and 1 probable) of listeriosis were reported. All of the cases were hospitalised and there have been seven deaths and one miscarriage associated with the outbreak. All of the outbreak cases have had illness onset since 17 January 2018.

Advice to Travellers

Listeriosis is usually self limiting but can be a serious disease and is especially dangerous to pregnant women, infants, elderly people, transplant patients, people with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions. Anyone in these groups who may be infected should seek medical attention. Symptoms include: fever, muscle and joint pains, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhoea.

Food should be chosen that is freshly cooked to a high temperature and served immediately while still hot. Meat and vegetables should be thoroughly cooked and eaten hot whenever possible. Fruit should be peeled.

Avoid the following:

  • Leftovers and reheated meat
  • Ready-to-eat cooked meats and sausage
  • Pâté or meat spreads
  • Unpasteurized milk and dairy products e.g. soft cheese.
  • Refrigerated uncooked seafood
  • Raw vegetables or salad
  • Contact with infected people eg through food handling
  • Contact with infected animals

See Food and Water Precautions.