As many as 16 people have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, liked to whole Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado. The death toll makes the food outbreak, the deadliest in more than a decade.
- As of 5pm EDT on September 20, 2011, a total of 55 persons infected with the 4 outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 14 states. All illnesses started on or after August 4, 2011. The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (14), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (4), New Mexico (10), Oklahoma (8), Texas (9), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1).
- Collaborative investigations by local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate the source of the outbreak is whole cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farms’ production fields in Granada, Colorado.
Recommendation from CDC –
- CDC recommends that persons at high risk for listeriosis, including older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women, do not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.
- Other consumers who want to reduce their risk of Listeria infection should not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.
- Even if some of the cantaloupe has been eaten without becoming ill, dispose of the rest of the cantaloupe immediately. Listeria bacteria can grow in the cantaloupe at room and refrigerator temperatures.
The median age of the affected was last reported as 78. The number of deaths is supposed to rise as the symptoms of listeria don’t always show up right away.
Dr. Robert Tauxe of the CDC says the number of illnesses and deaths will probably grow in coming weeks because the symptoms of listeria don’t always show up right away. It can take four weeks or more for a person to fall ill after eating food contaminated with listeria.
“That long incubation period is a real problem,” Tauxe said. “People who ate a contaminated food two weeks ago or even a week ago could still be falling sick weeks later.”
Please take all necessary precaution for yourself and your family.