A THIRD Victorian has died from listeria traced to contaminated rockmelons from interstate.

Recent testing confirmed the man, aged in his 80s, died from the strain that caused the national outbreak.

Three Victorians and two people from NSW have now died after consuming fruit that was linked to a farm in Griffith, in the NSW Riverina region.

Authorities said a woman miscarried as a result of the potentially deadly virus.

"Sadly, the investigation has also confirmed that a miscarriage has also been linked to the outbreak," deputy chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said.

The man's death brought the number of Victorians affected by the illness to eight.

All of the cases in the state were in high risk groups which include the elderly and pregnant women.

Four women and four men have contracted the illness.

The rockmelon producer in Nericon, near Griffith, voluntarily stopped production after being told of the contamination.

The NSW Food Authority and Berejiklian Government came under fire following accusations they took weeks to warn the public after beginning investigations in January.

A sixth Victorian has been diagnosed with listeria traced to NSW rockmelons. Generic picture
A sixth Victorian has been diagnosed with listeria traced to NSW rockmelons. Generic picture

But NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair hit back, telling ABC's Country Hour there had been no delay and everything was done "by the book".

NSW Health previously defended its response, saying it followed established protocols and takes outbreaks "very seriously".

All affected melons, also known as cantaloupes, have been withdrawn from sale and distribution.

A Listeria infection can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women as well as unborn babies and the elderly.

Health Victoria issued advice that pregnant women should avoid eating "pre-cut melons (such as rockmelon or watermelon) salads, cold seafood and cold deli meats, soft cheeses, soft-serve ice cream, dips and any unpasteurised dairy products".

"Infection in pregnant women may be mild and a temperature before or during birth may be the only sign. However, the infection can be transmitted to the foetus through the placenta which can result in stillbirth or premature birth.

"Listeriosis starts with 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."