Deadliest Food Outbreak In A Decade Caused By Cantaloupes
Health officials say as many as 16 people have already died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that so far, 72 illnesses, including the deaths, are linked to the tainted fruit. State and local officials are investigating three additional deaths that may be connected.
Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas have also reported deaths due to cantaloupe. Causing the number of deaths surpassing the number of deaths linked to the outbreak of salmonella in peanuts almost three years ago. Nine people died in that outbreak.
Dr. Robert Tauxe of the CDC says the number of illnesses and deaths will most likely grow in the next few 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.”
The companies who produced the cantaloupe linked to causing the outbreak, “Colorado Grown,””Distributed by Frontera Produce,” ”Jensenfarms.com” or “Sweet Rocky Fords,” have all been recalled. However, the FDA said not all of the recalled cantaloupes are labeled with a sticker.
Symptoms of listeria include fever and muscle aches, often with other gastrointestinal symptoms. Victims often become incapacitated and unable to speak. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, go see a doctor immediately.