Listeria outbreak worsens

Listeria death toll rises as infection spreads

WRITTEN BY: Janelle Vreeland
Listeria micrograph
Image Source: CDC/Dr. Balasubr Swaminathan; Peggy Hayes via Wikimedia Commons
Listeria micrograph

A listeria outbreak has claimed at least 13 lives and sickened at least 72 people.

MSNBC.com reports that 18 states have been infected with listeria as a result of individuals consuming infected cantaloupes. This latest listeria outbreak is quickly approaching the death toll of the 1998 listeria outbreak which claimed 21 lives. That listeria outbreak was caused by contaminated deli meats and hot dogs.

Most of the listeria deaths have been linked to whole cantaloupes grown and shipped by Jensen Farms of Holly, Colorado and has mainly infected vulnerable populations.

“It’s basically a feature of listeriosis itself. It affects people who have other counts against them,” said Dr. Robert Tauxe of the Centers for Disease Control. “It’s just a severe infection.”

As we reported previously, listeria infections can cause diarrhea and other gastrointenstinal problems. Listeria can also cause fever, muscle ache and stiff neck, among other symptoms. A listeria infection in a pregnant woman may result in a miscarriage, still birth or infection in the newborn.

Read more about the listeria outbreak here.

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