Dangerous pathogen: Five people died after eating melons

Listeria in melons: five people died

In Australia, five people have died after eating honeydew melons. According to health experts, the fruit was contaminated with listeria. These bacteria apparently also caused a woman to lose her baby. Therefore, pregnant women in particular should avoid melons at the moment.

Listeria outbreak kills several people

Australia is currently experiencing a dangerous Listeria outbreak. The bacteria already killed five people, one woman had a miscarriage. According to health experts, all cases are due to contaminated honeydew melons (Cantaloupe melons). Listeria infections can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women, their unborn babies and the elderly. They can lead to death in people with weakened immune systems.

Melons contaminated with bacteria

In the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), five deaths due to listeria have been recorded in the past few weeks.

The most recent case - the death of a man in his 80s - is according to Dr. Brett Sutton, Victoria's deputy health official, has just been linked to the Listeria outbreak.

"And unfortunately the investigation also confirmed that a miscarriage was linked to the outbreak," said the expert in a statement.

The dangerous bacteria were ingested through contaminated melons. The fruits are said to come from a particular farm in NSW.

Widespread bacteria

Listeria are bacteria that are found almost everywhere in the environment and are generally harmless to healthy adults. However, they can also trigger a so-called "listeriosis".

The pathogens can cause flu-like symptoms such as nausea, muscle pain, chills, diarrhea and fever.

According to health experts, the germs can also lead to brain inflammation or blood poisoning in certain risk groups (pregnant women, infants, people with weakened immune systems). Pneumonia and heart valve inflammation have also been described.

Deadly forms are also possible, as not only the current outbreak in Australia shows.

Several years ago, for example, several deaths after eating Listeria melons were reported from the USA.

Avoid certain foods

According to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), people from risk groups should, among other things, not eat raw animal foods (such as Mett) to protect themselves.

You should also avoid smoking or marinated fish products and raw milk cheese.

"In addition, simple kitchen hygiene rules allow consumers to avoid contamination of ready-to-eat food with listeria and the multiplication of the pathogen in the food," says the BfR.

Do not dispose of any fruit that may be affected in the compost

The Victoria Health Authority also points out security measures:

"Pregnant women should avoid eating pre-cut melons (such as melons or watermelons), other prepared fruit and vegetable salads, cold seafood and cold meats, soft cheeses, soft ice cream, dips and unpasteurized dairy products."

The agency also said: "If consumers are unsure about the origin of a melon, it should be disposed of in the waste bin and not in the compost bin to avoid further contamination." (Ad)

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