Death Toll From Tainted Cantaloupes Climbs to 21, CDC Says
The deadliest U.S. foodborne illness outbreak in more than a decade has sickened 109 people and has been linked to one miscarriage, the CDC said today in an update on its website. The agency earlier reported that as of Oct. 3, laboratory tests had confirmed that 100 people in 20 states had fallen ill from the tainted melons, and 18 died.
New York, Iowa, Oregon and South Dakota are the states newly identified as being part of the outbreak, with one case each, the agency said. The New York resident sickened by the melons is among the 21 people in 11 states who have died.
The listeria outbreak is the first-ever tied to cantaloupe. Jensen Farms of Granada, Colorado, recalled the contaminated fruit on Sept. 14. The Food and Drug Administration is working with Colorado health officials to learn how the contamination occurred.
Listeria, a bacterium often found in soil and water, sickens about 1,600 people and kills about 260 in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. Animals can carry and transmit the germ without appearing ill. Pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk from listeria infections. Symptoms include fever and diarrhea.
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