A fourth person has died after consuming melon contaminated with listeria, Australian authorities said, in an outbreak that has so far affected 17 people.
Cases first came to the attention of health officials last month, with the source traced to a farm in New South Wales.
"There have been two deaths in NSW and two in Victoria," NSW Health said yesterday.
Vicky Sheppeard, director of communicable diseases, said all contaminated melons have been recalled. "Typically around one third of people who fall ill with listeriosis die every year.
"Most of the cases are never related to an outbreak like this one we're seeing with the rock melon contamination," she said.
Listeria is a commonly found bacteria, and doesn't cause illness for many who consume foods that contain it. But it can pose a threat to the elderly, pregnant women, or people with diabetes or cancer.