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Third Victorian Dies In Listeria Outbreak

A third person has died in Victoria following an outbreak of listeria linked to rockmelons, bringing the national toll to five.

The man, aged in his 80s, died earlier this month, Victoria's deputy chief health officer confirmed on Friday.

"This latest case - the death of a man in his 80s - has only just been linked to the outbreak as a result of our microbiological testing," deputy chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said.

The investigation also confirmed a miscarriage was also linked to the outbreak.

As well as the three Victorian fatalities, two people have died in NSW, while 17 elderly people have been infected across the country.

Rombola Family Farms in Nericon near Griffith in the NSW Riverina voluntary halted production of potentially contaminated melon types after becoming aware of the outbreak and all affected produce has been withdrawn from sale and distribution.

Dr Sutton says information to date indicates all those affected in Victoria ate rockmelon before the national recall.

Rockmelons now available for sale are not affected.

The bacterial infection is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, their unborn babies and elderly people. It can cause also death in people with compromised immune systems.

The Victorian cases were all in high risk groups.

If consumers are uncertain of the origin of a rockmelon it should be disposed of in the waste bin, not into compost bins, to avoid further contamination.

As a result of the outbreak, the NSW Food Authority may apply additional regulatory actions or supervision to the rockmelon industry to ensure compliance and to see improved safety outcomes, the authority said in a statement on Thursday.


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