(RxWiki News) U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials have confirmed the presence of listeria in Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes. Four already have died and 35 people in 10 states have been sickened from the tainted fruit.
Two of the deaths occurred in New Mexico, one in Oklahoma and one in Colorado. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in the process of confirming two additional deaths which may be linked to the listeria outbreak.
"Avoid eating cantaloupe until the recall is settled."
People have so far been sickened in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. That number is expected to grow as the incubation period for the illness can be up to one month.
The samples were taken from a Denver-area store, and equipment and cantaloupe at the Jensen Farms' packing facility after the fruit was identified as the common food eaten by several sickened patients. Jensen Farms voluntarily recalled the cantaloupe last week.
Testing confirmed that the Listeria monocytogenes found in the samples matched one of the three different strains linked to the multi-state outbreak. Cantaloupes from other Colorado farms are not associated with the outbreak.
Colorado-based Jensen Farms is working with the FDA and Colorado state officials to aid in quickly removing the cantaloupe from the marketplace. They also are cooperating with authorities in determining how the cantaloupes became contaminated. The recalled cantaloupe were shipped to at least 17 states between July 29 and Sept. 10.
Consumers are asked to throw out recalled cantaloupe. Eating them can be especially risky for the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Do not try washing the bacteria from the fruit, as it also may be contaminated on the inside.
According to the CDC, those who contract listeriosis usually have symptoms including fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms.