MAJOR investigations are underway after two people died after contracting listeriosis believed to be linked to contaminated smoked salmon.
The Australian Department of Health confirmed the sad news on Wednesday, revealing smoked salmon as the likely source behind the tragedy.
The pair were both aged in their 70s and were from NSW and Victoria.
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However, the department has confirmed that they’re also investigating a third non-fatal case in Queensland.
“The Australian Government Department of Health in collaboration with jurisdictions is currently investigating three cases of Listeria infections occurring in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales,” Australia’s chief medical officer said in a statement.
“All cases occurred in people aged over 70 years and all had significant underlying health conditions.”
It’s understood the infections were likely to have come from contaminated smoked salon, with health officials issuing a warning about food handling.
“This is a timely reminder for people to ensure that food is handled, prepared and stored safely, and that those most at-risk of listeriosis avoid certain foods,” they said.
Listeriosis is an illness usually caused by eating food contaminated by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria are widely distributed in the environment and can grow in food at refrigeration temperatures.
Most people who are exposed to Listeria will only develop mild symptoms, though illness can be severe in those most at-risk. Those at increased risk of illness include pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies and the elderly.
Listeria infection starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes diarrhoea.
People can start experiencing symptoms within a few days, but symptoms can take a number of weeks to appear after eating a contaminated product.