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More States Affected By Listeria-Tainted Cantaloupes

September 27, 2011

According to the Food and Drug Administration, listeria-tainted cantaloupes were shipped to several more states, bringing the total number of states affected by an outbreak that killed eight people to twenty.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 55 people in 14 states have been infected from the tainted cantaloupes, with the highest number of patients seen in Colorado where the fruits were grown. 

Officials have traced the outbreak to cantaloupes grown at Colorado-based Jensen Farms Inc., and sold under the brand name Rocky Ford. The FDA stated that the company has voluntarily recalled its cantaloupes that were shipped between July 29th and September 10th this year.  

Lola Russell, spokeswoman for the CDC, said "this is the deadliest U.S. outbreak since a number of salmonella infections killed nine people in 2008 and 2009," and that "the infection can be in a person’s system for up to two months before it presents itself." 

Listeria monocytogenes, the bacterial strain found in the tainted cantaloupes, thrives at low temperatures, the CDC said on its website.  Health officials have also added that infection can be particularly dangerous for elderly people, pregnant women and patients with weakened immune systems.

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