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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

People, not Statistics, became Sick and Died in the Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak

According to the CDC’s final report, a total of 146 persons infected with any of the four outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes were reported to CDC from 28 states. The number of infected persons identified in each state was as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (4), Colorado (40), Idaho (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (11), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (7), Montana (1), Nebraska (6), Nevada (1), New Mexico (15), New York (2), North Dakota (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (18), Utah (1), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (4).

Among persons for whom information was available, reported illness onset ranged from July 31, 2011 through October 27, 2011. Ages ranged from <1 to 96 years, with a median age of 77 years. Most ill persons were over 60 years old. Fifty-eight percent of ill persons were female. Among the 144 ill persons with available information on whether they were hospitalized, 142 (99%) were hospitalized.

Thirty deaths were reported: Colorado (8), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (3), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (5), New York (2), Oklahoma (1), Texas (2), and Wyoming (1). Among persons who died, ages ranged from 48 to 96 years, with a median age of 82.5 years. In addition, one woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage.

Two more have died since the CDC’s report became final. It is likely that the CDC will never count them, but they should.

Lest we forget, this outbreak was much more than statistics.

  • Paul F Schwarz

    You are absolutely right that real people died and got sick from listeria tainted Jensen Farms cantaloupe! It is too bad that the congress can’t hold a hearing about the worst food borne illness outbreak our history. The video shows real people and the impact on their lives. The victims are not just statistics!