People at increased risk of listeriosis - including those who are older, pregnant, or immunocompromised - are urged to avoid certain foods after an increase in cases across NSW.
Listeriosis infection comes from consuming food contaminated with a particular bacteria and can cause severe illness and death in vulnerable people, although most healthy people will not become ill.
NSW Health's One Health branch director, Keira Glasgow, said there had been a rise in both the number of reported cases of listeriosis and the number of people hospitalised with the illness.
So far this year NSW has recorded 25 cases of listeriosis, more than the state would usually see in a year.
NSW Health data shows the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has recorded three cases so far in 2023, up from two for the entirety of 2022.
In the 30 years to 2022, the district recorded an average of 1.5 cases per year.
"There are a range of foods that present very real risks to people who are older, pregnant or have underlying health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart, liver, or kidney disease, or who are on medications such as corticosteroids which impact immune systems," Ms Glasgow said.
"That's why NSW Health is reminding these vulnerable people to be aware of the foods that present these risks. It's vital these people choose the safer option at all times."
People at increased risk of listeriosis should avoid the following foods:
They should also:
Symptoms of listeriosis usually start with fever and muscle aches.
For those at high risk, the disease can spread rapidly to the blood or central nervous system, causing sudden fever, intense headache, a stiff neck, confusion or delirium, convulsions, loss of balance, or even a coma.
Infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and infection of the newborn.
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