Four dead in rockmelon listeria outbreak

Four Australians have died from listeria linked to rockmelons from a NSW farm.
Four Australians have died from listeria linked to rockmelons from a NSW farm.

Australia's rockmelon listeria outbreak has claimed another life, with the death toll reaching four.

A total of 17 listeria cases were confirmed across eastern states on Wednesday, with two deaths each in Victoria and NSW.

The latest victim was from Victoria, but further details were not revealed.

It's believed the person died last week, with test results confirming the listeria link taking days to complete.

NSW Health on Wednesday confirmed the state's fatalities were a man and woman, both from Sydney and both with "underlying medical conditions".

"At the time of their deaths, these cases had not been linked to the outbreak and rockmelon had not yet been identified as the source," a NSW Health spokesperson said in a statement.

A rockmelon grower at Nericon, in the NSW Riverina, has since been identified as the source of suspect fruit.

The producer agreed to stop distribution after being told about the contamination almost two weeks ago.

But the NSW government and health authorities were accused of taking too long to warn the public after investigations began in January.

Listeria begins with flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea, which can take days or weeks to appear following the consumption of contaminated produce.

Australian Associated Press