Australian Listeria Outbreak Spikes – More Illnesses and Deaths

Up to March 6, an additional seven cases of listeriosis have been linked to the outbreak, including four deaths. Cases are from NSW (6), Victoria (6), Queensland (4) and Tasmania (1). In January 2018 NSW Health commenced investigating an increase in listeriosis notifications, around four times the expected rate. Notifications were received from rural and metropolitan public health units, affecting elderly people. Most of the affected people had consumed a number of high risk foods during their incubation period. NSW Health commenced working with the NSW Food Authority and specialist microbiology laboratories to identify any linkages between the cases. On February 19 NSW Health were notified that bacteria from two NSW cases, which had been notified on January 26 and February 1, had an identical whole genome sequence to a case notified in Victoria. This indicated that there could be a common source outbreak. At the same time, Queensland recognised that bacteria from three…

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