Healthy Living

Listeria Outbreak: Thousands At Risk Of Deadly Bug in Victoria

About thousands of people in Victoria in Australia are now at risk of a deadly infection due to listeria outbreak — also known as listeriosis, a serious infection usually obtained from eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes

Understanding Listeria

Listeria is a bacterium that can cause blood poisoning, also known as septicemia or meningitis. People who are most at risk are the elderly, pregnant women, and immuno-suppressed individuals. Healthy people are not usually affected by listeria infection. However, the disease can be fatal to those who have a weak immune system. Usually, this disease is treatable by an antibiotic.

Those who are infected by listeria infection may experience fever, diarrhea, muscle aches and nausea. The aforementioned symptoms may appear a few days after a person eats contaminated food. The first signs and symptoms may take 30 days to begin. 

If a listeria infection spreads to the nervous system, the signs and symptoms include headache, stiff neck, convulsions, loss of balance, and confusion or changes in alertness.

The Listeria Outbreak

The listeria outbreak started from a factory owned by commercial caterer I Cook Foods in Dandenong South. The factory has stopped its operation since Feb. 23 due to an ongoing investigation.

The company has been offering food to 10 private hospitals and aged care facilities, as well as providing around 7,000 Meals on Wheels every week for local councils, 9News reported. Due to the reported outbreak, which was traced in the factory, the company recalled its products. And its site in Dandenong South will remain closed for at least two weeks while the investigation continues.

I Cook Foods said it is cooperating with the health authorities and added that its suppliers are trying to isolate the source of the outbreak. Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer Dr. Brett Sutton announced the closure of the site, and he warned that “potentially thousands may have been exposed.”