Emily Woods of the Age reports one person has died and at least six others have been taken to hospital with listeria during a surge in food poisoning cases in the weeks before Christmas.
Victoria’s acting chief health officer Dr Finn Romanes advised doctors and other health professionals to “educate at-risk patients” about safe food-handling and which foods to avoid.
The department was unable to reveal further details about the patient’s death.
The seven recent cases are among 25 that have been reported in Victoria so far this year. In 2015, there were 22 cases of listeria in the state.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the incidents were a timely reminder for pregnant women, and other at-risk people, in the days leading up to Christmas.
“Food-borne illnesses typically increase during the summer months, when bacteria can multiply quickly. With a recent rise in listeriosis notifications it’s particularly important pregnant women take extra precautions this Christmas,” Ms Hennessy said.
“Pregnant women should remain vigilant and avoid eating salads prepared well in advance of consumption, cold seafood and cold deli meats, soft cheeses, soft-serve ice cream, dips and any unpasteurised dairy products.”
All of the other patients have since left hospital and are recovering.