1. “If it crossed the placenta, he would have died.” Mum’s warning after contracting listeria while pregnant, amid rockmelon contamination.
“It slowly creeps up on you. I started shaking, my temperature was high, it felt like I was having a spasm. I started vomiting on the day I was rushed to hospital.”
Sydney mum Amelia Liddy-Sudbury has a warning for pregnant mothers amid the current listeria outbreak: don’t take any chances.
She was 33 weeks pregnant with her son, Theodore, last year when she ate pre-cut melon, which she now believes was contaminated with listeria – the same source as the current outbreak.
Two people have died from a listeria outbreak linked to rockmelon:
For two weeks, doctors treated Liddy-Sudbury hoping the infection would not move past the placenta and into the womb, as listeria would prove fatal for little Theodore.
They were scared to deliver Theodore while his mother’s health was so compromised. But, at 35 weeks they could wait no longer and Theodore was delivered via emergency cesarean.
“We were within one hour of the bacteria passing through the placenta into the baby,” Liddy-Sudbury told Daily Mail. “If it crossed, he would have died.”
The 36-year-old mother said the onset of her symptoms was gradual.
“I was feeling sore, my muscles were aching. It wasn’t like having food poisoning at all, it was like having the flu,” Liddy-Sudbury said.
But it took only days before the infection was “ravaging” her body, but her placenta was able to hold it back.
Liddy-Sudbury was treated with antibiotics for two weeks, all the while terrified of the possibility of the infection travelling through the placenta and killing her unborn child.
“For two weeks, we prepared for all the potential outcome of what could have happened. But for some stroke of miracle, he was perfect,” she said.
“If you’re pregnant or at an old age, just don’t eat it, it’s not worth it.”
Liddy-Sudbury’s warning comes as Australians are being urged to throw out any melons purchased before Wednesday, after two people have died from the infection, and eight others have been diagnosed.
The outbreak was linked to a rockmelon grower in Nericon, near Griffith, who has voluntarily ceased production after being notified of the contamination.
Eating foods that contain the listeria bacteria does not cause illness in most people. But for people with a compromised immune system it can result in severe illness and even death, the Food Safety Information Council has warned.
Listeria starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and sometimes diarrhoea. The symptoms can take a few days or weeks to appear after eating contaminated produce.
The infection is particularly dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women and people who have underlying health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart and kidney disease.