September 16, 2011
Public Health Alert – Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Rocky Ford Cantaloupes
22 Persons Affected in Seven States
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with local health departments in Illinois, is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria – in this instance linked to Rocky Ford Cantaloupes shipped by Jensen Farms in Colorado.
A total of 22 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from seven states, with illnesses reported since August 15, 2011. The FDA has also reported that the Rocky Ford Cantaloupes—which were voluntarily recalled by Jensen Farms on September 14—were distributed in at least 17 states, including Illinois. Both the FDA & CDC have recommended that consumers not eat Rocky Ford Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.
The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: Colorado (12), New Mexico (4), Texas (2), Indiana (1) Nebraska (1), Oklahoma (1), and West Virginia (1). The infected patients range in age from 38 to 96 years old, with a median age of 81. Most are over 60 years old or have health conditions that weaken the immune system. 20 of the 22 ill persons were hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported.
Listeriosis illnesses in several other states –including Cook County in Illinois—are currently being investigated by state and local health departments to determine if these illnesses are part of this outbreak.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of Listeria infection vary with the infected person:
IDPH is reminding people to follow all food safety recommendations to avoid potential illness, as contaminated cantaloupes may still be in grocery stores and in consumers' homes.
General Melon Safety Advice:
More information about Listeriosis and recommendations to reduce risk of getting Listeriosis from food can be found at the CDC's Listeriosis webpage .
More information about FDA Safety Recalls: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm271882.htmMore general information about listeriosis can also be found at the IDPH website: http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/reportdis/listeria.htm
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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