Two in Singapore infected by listeria similar to that in Aussie outbreak

Two people in Singapore were infected by a listeria bacteria strain similar to that found in a patient in the deadly outbreak in Australia this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

It said in a statement that its National Public Health Laboratory completed the genetic sequence analysis on bacteria strains taken from five patients with listeriosis this year. One of the two patients infected by the strain similar to that in the Australia outbreak has recovered, while the other died "for reasons not due to the listeria infection", it added.

Rock melons contaminated with listeria bacteria were exported from Australia to at least nine countries, including Singapore. The Australian melon producer recalled the fruit on Feb 27. In Singapore, affected consignments were recalled and destroyed by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority last month.

In the statement, MOH said initial epidemiological investigations conducted following the notification of listeriosis cases in Singapore did not show a link between them and the Australia outbreak.

However, further laboratory investigations were conducted. The ministry found that among the five patients, two were infected by the listeria strain ST240, which had a similar gene sequence to the strain found in a patient in the Australian listeriosis outbreak.

"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," it said.

The ministry said it will continue to monitor the situation closely.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2018, with the headline 'Two in S'pore infected by listeria similar to that in Aussie outbreak'. Print Edition | Subscribe