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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

CDC 55 Sick, 8 Dead – 2 more Lawsuits Linked to Listeria Cantaloupe – Colorado and Texas

The CDC reported a few moments ago that a total of 55 persons infected with the 4 outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 14 states. All illnesses started on or after August 4, 2011. The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (14), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (4), New Mexico (10), Oklahoma (8), Texas (9), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1). Listeriosis illnesses in several other states are currently being investigated by state and local health departments to determine if they are part of this outbreak.

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Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began on or after August 4, 2011. Ages range from 35 to 96 years, with a median age of 78 years old. Most ill persons are over 60 years old or have health conditions that weaken the immune system. Fifty-nine percent of ill persons are female. Among the 43 ill persons with available information on whether they were hospitalized, all were hospitalized. Eight deaths have been reported, 2 in Colorado, 1 in Maryland, 4 in New Mexico, and 1 in Oklahoma.

Texas – The family of an Angleton, Texas, woman who was hospitalized after consuming Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe filed a lawsuit against the Colorado-based farm that produced the cantaloupe in Brazoria County District Court today. According to the complaint, Juanita Gomez consumed cantaloupe purchased from a local grocery store in early August. By August 20, Mrs. Gomez became ill and developed a fever. When her symptoms progressed, she was taken to the hospital where her temperature measured 105.6 degrees F, her eyes became glassy, and she was unable to respond to simple questions. Tests later confirmed she had been infected with the same strain of Listeria linked to an ongoing outbreak that has been traced to defendant Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford cantaloupe. Mrs. Gomez was released from the hospital on August 24 and continues to recover at her home

Colorado – The family of a man hospitalized after consuming contaminated cantaloupe filed a Listeria lawsuit against Rocky Ford cantaloupe producer Jensen Farms today in Arapahoe County District Court. This is the second Listeria lawsuit filed in Colorado by Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness. A third has also been filed in Texas. According to complaint, Herbert Stevens and his wife purchased Jensen Farms-grown Rocky Ford cantaloupe from a Littleton grocery store in early August. On August 24, 84-year-old Mr. Stevens fell ill with symptoms of listeriosis and became incapacitated. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he tested positive for the same strain of Listeria that is involved in the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak. Mr. Stevens remained hospitalized until several days ago, when he was transferred to a long-term care facility. It is not clear if he will be able to return home.