Sydney -- A man in his 80s has become the third person in Australia's Victoria state to die from a listeria bacterial outbreak, bringing the latest death toll linked to contaminated rockmelons in the country to five, health authorities said on Friday.
The latest case was linked to the outbreak following test results, the state's Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said in a statement.
"And sadly, the investigation has also confirmed that a miscarriage has also been linked to the outbreak."
Eight people in Victoria, four men and four women, are known to have been affected by the outbreak and all of them had consumed rockmelons before a national recall of the affected fruit produced by Rombola Family Farms near the Griffith area in the southwestern part of New South Wales state, said Sutton.
Other than the three fatalities in Victoria, two people in New South Wales have also died from eating the tainted fruit.
The NSW food authorities said they are working with the producer to determine the cause of the outbreak.
Those suffering from listeria infection can start getting "flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes diarrhoea. In immunosuppressed patients, listeriosis usually presents as a brain inflammation, brain abscess or blood poisoning. Pneumonia, and heart valve infections have also been described," said Sutton.
Australia exports about 20-million-Australian dollars' (about 15.6 million U.S. dollars) worth of rockmelons a year to countries including Singapore, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates and Brunei, according to the Australian Melon Industry.