The CDC just reported that a total of 35 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 10 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 (12), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (4), New Mexico (5), Oklahoma (6), Texas (3), and West Virginia (1). Four deaths have been reported, one in Colorado, one in Oklahoma, and two in New Mexico.
Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies have linked this outbreak to eating whole cantaloupe from Jensen Farms, of Holly, Colorado.
On September 14, 2011, FDA issued a press release to announce that Jensen Farms issued a voluntary recall of Rocky Ford Cantaloupe because the cantaloupes have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria and may be linked to a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis. Today, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it found Listeria monocytogenes in samples of Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupe taken from a Denver-area store and on samples taken from equipment and cantaloupe at the Jensen Farms’ packing facility. Tests confirmed that the Listeria monocytogenes found in the samples matches one of the three different strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis.
CDC recommends that persons at high risk for listeriosis, including older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women, do not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms. Other consumers who want to reduce their risk of Listeria infection should not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.
I have slightly different numbers – “7 Deaths, 49 Illnesses Likely Linked to Listeria Cantaloupe.” I am sure that over the next weeks the CDC’s and my numbers will get closer.