Watermelon theory in illness surge

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Watermelons may be the source of a salmonella outbreak across the UK which has affected 35 people, leading to one death.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said three times the number of people had been infected than expected since December.

One, who has not been named, has died although they had serious underlying health complications. Two infections have occurred in Yorkshire. All the cases involved a strain of Salmonella Newport infection.

Experts say one potential source has been identified as ready-to-eat sliced watermelon imported from Brazil.

Bob Adak, head of the HPA’s gastrointestinal diseases department, said: “It is always advisable to wash fruits and vegetables – including watermelon – before consumption to reduce the risk of possible illness.”