The CDC announced that as of this morning a total of 22 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 7 states. All illnesses started on or after August 15, 2011. The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: Colorado (12), Indiana (1), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (4), Oklahoma (1), Texas (2), and West Virginia (1).  New Mexico is investigating additional illnesses and deaths. Montana has linked one of two illnesses to the expanding outbreak. According to the FDA, the recalled cantaloupes were distributed to the following states: Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania. Further distribution is possible.

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Ages range from 38 to 96 years, with a median age of 81 years old. Most ill persons are over 60 years old or have health conditions that weaken the immune system. Sixty-two percent of ill persons are female. Among the 20 ill persons with available information on whether they were hospitalized, all were hospitalized. Two deaths have been reported, one in Colorado and one in New Mexico.

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.

Laboratory testing by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment identified Listeria monocytogenes bacteria on cantaloupes collected from grocery stores and from an ill person’s home. Product traceback information from Colorado state officials indicated these cantaloupes also came from Jensen Farms.