Skip to main content

Death toll from tainted cantaloupes hits 28

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Wed October 26, 2011
If consumers are uncertain about the source of a cantaloupe, they are urged to ask their supermarket.
If consumers are uncertain about the source of a cantaloupe, they are urged to ask their supermarket.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • At least 133 cases have been reported in 26 states
  • The outbreak is not over, but new cases are on the decline
  • The tainted cantaloupes were recalled last month
  • The outbreak is the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the United States since 1998

(CNN) -- The number of deaths linked to cantaloupes contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria has risen to 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

A total of 133 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.

Although health officials have said it is too early to declare the outbreak over, the number of new cases is falling.

"The peak in illnesses appears to have occurred from late August until the middle of September," Dr. Barbara Mahon of the CDC said last week, adding that additional monitoring will be needed for at least another two weeks.

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.

Cause of listeria in cantaloupe discovered
Listeria victim's wife: It's 'pure hell'
Tainted cantaloupes have left 29 people dead in what has become the deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-borne illness since the CDC started keeping track of listeria cases in 1973, according to the agency. Incidence rates of infection actually decreased 23% in the U.S. between 1996 and 2010 but news of a contaminated food product always creates headlines. Here are the 10 most high-profile food-borne illness outbreaks since 2001. Tainted cantaloupes have left 29 people dead in what has become the deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-borne illness since the CDC started keeping track of listeria cases in 1973, according to the agency. Incidence rates of infection actually decreased 23% in the U.S. between 1996 and 2010 but news of a contaminated food product always creates headlines. Here are the 10 most high-profile food-borne illness outbreaks since 2001.
Cantaloupe
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
The decade\'s 10 worst food-borne illness outbreaks The decade's 10 worst food-borne illness outbreaks

Unsanitary conditions at the Colorado cantaloupe farm's packing facility are a possible contributing cause of one of the nation's worst outbreaks of listeria contamination in food, health officials have said.

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.

Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms should be disposed of immediately, even if some of them have been partially 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.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT