CDC Issues Multi-State Listeria Outbreak Warning

Fresh slice canteloupe(BlackDoctor.org) — Colorado cantaloupes are the latest food to go under the microscope after the melons were linked to four deaths and 16 cases of Listeria, a potentially deadly bacterial infection.

While the FDA has not announced a recall on the fruit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the multi-state outbreak that health officials believe originated from the popular Rocky Ford cantaloupes, which are produced in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado. The cases were reported in five states: Colorado, Texas, Indiana, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

“We’ve had [more than 10] cases in Colorado since Aug. 1 that are now linked to the multi-state outbreak,” said Mark Salley, communications director at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Typically, Colorado sees about 10 cases of Listeria per year, so when we saw so many since Aug. 1, we knew that was significant and decided to look into the multi-state nature of the illness.”

Listeriosis is a rare and serious illness that mostly affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and those with compromised immune systems. A person who comes down with it usually experiences fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and confusion. The infection almost always spreads to the gastrointestinal tract, and it can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

The FDA released a statement Tuesday noting that the government agency is working closely with the CDC and state health officials to investigate the multi-state listeriosis outbreak.