Listeriosis In Singapore: 2 Singapore patients infected with ST240 listeria strain

Listeriosis In Singapore: 2 Singapore patients infected with ST240 listeria strain

Listeriosis in Singapore: MOH has revealed that 2 patients in Singapore have been infected with a listeria strain similar to the Australian outbreak.

Worries about listeriosis in Singapore have resurfaced.

It was recently reported that many people died and many others fell sick in Australia due to a listeria outbreak linked to contaminated rockmelons.

Rockmelons from the affected grower in New South Wales, Australia, had made their way to Singapore too. In fact, between Feb 12, 2018 and Mar 2, 2018 farmers were selling them at Sheng Siong supermarket outlets and wet markets.

After news of the infection broke out, farmers removed the remaining unsold affected rockmelons.

The AVA had informed in a press release, "The recall has been completed."

"There has been no further import of rockmelons from the affected grower since, and import has been suspended," the added. 

Now, according to Channel NewsAsia, in a statement on 16 April 2018, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has revealed that 2 patients in Singapore have been infected with a listeria strain similar to the Australian outbreak.

One patient has recovered while the other died, though not due to listeria infection. 

Worries about listeriosis in Singapore

listeriosis in Singapore

According to MOH, investigations were conducted on 5 patients who had listeria disease in Singapore this year. Initial testing did not reveal a link to the Australian outbreak. 

However, MOH's National Public Health Laboratory then conducted genetic sequence analysis on the five cases. They found that 2 of them were infected by the listeria strain ST240, which had "a similar gene sequence" to the Australian strain.

The MOH has clarified that, "There is no further public health risk from the Australia outbreak as the risks have been mitigated through the recall of the implicated consignments in March 2018."

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Earlier, authorities had stressed that they were not taking any chances. They are testing samples of locally sold rockmelons from other sources for listeria and bacteria.

AVA advises anyone who suspects that they may have bought the affected rockmelons during that time period not to eat it. In case you do not feel well after consumption of the fruit, please do seek medical attention.

What exactly is listeriosis

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection. It is caused by eating foods that are contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Generally, soil, water, and faeces contain the bacteria.

Some of the common symptoms of listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, as well as nausea and/or diarrhoea. If the infection spreads to the central nervous system, you may even experience headaches, stiff neck, lack of balance and flu-like symptoms. 

Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early.

It is important to note that the incubation period of listeriosis ranges from 3 to 70 days. Hence, symptoms can appear many weeks after eating contaminated produce. Wash fruits thoroughly before consumption to prevent infection.

Listeriosis affects mainly pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with weakened immune systems.

In pregnant women, the infection can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, serious infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth. If you are pregnant and get listeriosis, antibiotics can often prevent infection of the foetus or newborn.

Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers eat contaminated food during pregnancy.

Foods that can pose a risk of listeriosis include pre-cut melons, cold salads, raw seafood and smoked salmon, unpasteurised milk products, sprouted seeds and raw mushrooms.

(Source: Channel NewsAsia, The Straits Times)

Also READ: Dealing with food poisoning in kids

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