Fifth Australian dies from eating rockmelon contaminated with listeria, but it's not coming here

  • 16/03/2018
A pile of rockmelons.
A pile of rockmelons. Photo credit: File

A fifth Australian has died following a listeria outbreak linked to contaminated rockmelon, but the disease is unlikely to make its way to New Zealand.

On Friday, Victoria's deputy chief health officer confirmed an elderly man had died earlier in March due to the disease, 7News reports.

"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," Dr Brett Sutton said.

It's the third death in Victoria and fifth overall related to the disease, after two others died in New South Wales.

Seventeen elderly people have been infected across the country and an investigation has also uncovered a miscarriage connected to the outbreak, which is believed to have originated at Rombola Family Farms in New South Wales.

The farm has now halted all production and all affected produce has been withdrawn from sale.

According to Dr Sutton, all those affected in Victoria ate rockmelon before the national recall and any currently on sale are safe to eat.

A Ministry for Primary Industries spokesperson told Newshub, while there is always a risk of a listeria outbreak in New Zealand, the infected rockmelons were not imported here.

Listeria is dangerous for pregnant woman, unborn babies and the elderly. It is also known to cause death in people with compromised immune systems.