Listeria the cause of death in Melbourne

A private hospital has been confirmed as the location where the consumption of foods is linked to an outbreak of a listeria and a death of an elderly resident. A catering company, I Cook Foods, has been ordered to suspend its operations while an investigation is completed to locate the source of the infection.

A notification was issued by the Acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton on this matter. Dr Sutton is urging affected businesses and community to dispose of foods provided by the identified catering company during a defined time period. The government has identified groups like Meals on Wheels, aged care facilities and private hospitals as target groups. Supplies for these organisations have potentially been affected and their customers are susceptible to being contaminated by listeria.

Who is at risk?

Listeriosis is an illness caused by eating food contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes. It is usually present in soil and water, but generally comes into contact with humans through food. Its common symptoms are chills, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea. The most at risk members of the population from being affected are elderly people and pregnant women.

Treatment options

Antibiotics are required to be administered by intravenous methods and should be considered in consultation with a local doctor. Victorian health department and other related areas of government are advising of the importance of educating people about safe food handling and storage.