Death toll from tainted cantaloupes climbs to 25

Story highlights

  • At least 123 cases have been reported in 26 states
  • The tainted cantaloupes were recalled last month
  • The outbreak is the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the United States since 1998

The number of deaths linked to cantaloupes contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria has risen to 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

A total of 123 people in 26 states have been infected, according to the CDC. Additionally, a woman who was pregnant at the time of her illness had a miscarriage, the agency said.

Health officials have said the number of cases could continue to grow, citing reporting lags and the fact the disease can develop slowly in some people, taking up to two months.

The listeria outbreak is the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the United States since 1998.

Groups at high risk for listeria include older adults, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.

    Just Watched

    Listeria victim's wife: It's 'pure hell'

Listeria victim's wife: It's 'pure hell' 01:56

The grower, Jensen Farms of Granada, Colorado, issued a voluntary recall of its Rocky Ford brand cantaloupes on September 14. The tainted cantaloupes should be off store shelves, the CDC has said.

Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms should be disposed of immediately, even if some of them have been eaten, the agency recommended. If consumers are uncertain about the source of a cantaloupe, they are urged to ask their supermarket. If the source remains unknown, the fruit should be thrown out.

    Refrigerating a cantaloupe will not kill the bacteria, which can grow at low temperatures, and consumers should not try to wash off the bacteria.