Listeria And Cantaloupe Death Toll Rises To 21

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10/10/2021 09:04 PM ET

The listeria out break linked to cantaloupe has its death toll rise to 21. Federal health officials say that the outbreak that started in Colorado may get even worse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported new deaths in Indiana and New York.

The CDC has also reported that 109 people have become sick due to the tainted cantaloupe. Among the two deaths in New York and Indiana, the CDC confirmed a death last week reported by state officials in Wyoming. The people who have become sick and those who died are spread out over 23 states from California to the east coast.

The number of illnesses and deaths is expected to grow. Louisiana has said it is investigating two listeria deaths possibly related to the outbreak that aren’t included in the CDC’s count.

The first recorded case of a listeria linked illness was July 31st. Listeria symptoms can take a couple of months before they show up. So the CDC is expecting more cases to pop up throughout for October.

The current outbreak now ties the worst listeria outbreak in the United States, with the 21 deaths. It is the third worst foodborne illness outbreak in the United States, measured by the number of deaths, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking outbreaks in the 1970s.

In response to the initial reports by the CDC on the contaminated cantaloupe, Jensen Farms issued a voluntary recall on September 15th of the entire harvest crop of 300,000 cantaloupe that it had distributed to its chain stores. The FDA made the public announcement for the recall after Listeria infection was confirmed by Jensen Farms at its main Colorado branch. Jensen Farms was also forced to shut down its processing plant while the recall is ongoing.

Listeria is most dangerous for the elderly, the newborn and AIDS patients. The CDC said the median age of those sickened is 77, and ill people are over 60 years old. There has been a report of one miscarriage due to the listeria disease.

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