Reporting from the press release of the Agriculture Quarantine Agency (BARANTAN), Australian rock melon (cantaloupe) was reported to have been contaminated with listeria bacteria and caused the deaths of 3 Australians. This incident is like a reminder of the case of imported apples contaminated with the same bacteria. This further indicates that listeria bacteria need to be watched out and prevented from getting more infected. So, what is listeria bacteria and how much is the danger to the body? Find the answer in the following review.
Get to know listeria bacteria, deadly bacteria in Australian melon rock
Listeria infection or listeriosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This infection is very vulnerable to attacking people with weak immune systems, such as babies, pregnant women, diabetics, and cancer patients.
These bacteria can be found on the ground, animal feed made from green leaves preserved by fermentation (silage), and other natural sources such as livestock feces. These bacteria can infect humans who eat foods that are easy or have been contaminated by listeria bacteria, including:
- Fruit of rock melon or watermelon
- Raw or uncooked meat
- Raw seafood or undercooked marine animals
- Unpasteurized milk and soft cheese
The danger of eating rock Australian melons infected with listeria
Listeria infections are very worth watching out for. Because the symptoms of this bacterial infection are very similar to flu symptoms, namely fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. These symptoms can last for days or even weeks after eating contaminated fruit or food ingredients, on average around 21 days.
Once this listeria bacteria escapes from the digestive tract and spreads throughout the body, it can cause septicemia (blood poisoning). If the infection begins to spread to the central nervous system, the patient will feel headaches, stiffness in the neck, loss of balance, and sometimes experience seizures. In severe cases, this can cause meningitis and end in death. While in pregnant women, listeria infection can cause miscarriages or stillbirths.
So, what can be done to prevent listeria infection from Australian melon rock fruit?
Although Australian rock melons are not imported into Indonesia, it never hurts to take anticipatory measures against the spread of infections from this one fruit. Especially for those of you who live in areas directly adjacent to Malaysia or Singapore, two countries that import a lot of Australian rock melons.
Head of the Agriculture Quarantine Agency, Ir. Banun Harpini, M.Sc. encourage people to avoid direct contact or consume Australian rock melons at this time. You also need to be vigilant when you want to eat fruits that are located adjacent to Australian rock melons because the risk of transmission can occur.
The most important thing is to always wash the fruits clean with running water (not just soaking) before starting to peel and eat. Don't miss also to always wash your hands with soap and running water before and after eating. Better yet, choose local fruits that are safer to consume.
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