One of the worst listeria outbreaks ever has gotten even worse today, with the CDC’s confirmation of two additional deaths. Cantaloupes tainted with listeria have now sickened some 116 people, including 23 deaths. The cantaloupes were recalled last month by Colorado based Jensen Farms, but infections caused by listeria can take as long as two months to produce symptoms. This is bad news, as the death toll could climb even higher as symptoms begin to manifest in even more people. See the CNN story here.
The latest deaths were both in Louisiana, an 87-year-old Baton Rouge woman and an 81-year-old woman from the Shreveport area.
The outbreak is the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak we have seen in the U.S. since 1998.
Jensen Farms made the initial recall almost a month ago on Sept. 14 and the CDC has said that all of the cantaloupes should no longer be on store shelves.
People with lowered immune systems, elderly, and pregnant women are amongst those at the highest risk.
Consumers should continue to exercise caution and be aware of the extended latency period that maybe associated with onset of illness.