Thursday, September 29, 2011

Listeria Cases From Cantaloupes

Recently, there have been reports of a listeria outbreak from contaminated cantaloupes in the U.S. So far, 16 people have died and more than 70 are currently ill. Reports of the outbreak have been collected from 18 states including New Mexico and Maryland. As of now, there are more patients being tested for the Listeriosis infection. There have been listeria outbreaks in the past. But, this is said to be the deadliest food-borne outbreak in over a decade.

The contaminated fruit has come from Jensen Farms based in Colorado. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged the public not to eat cantaloupes from Jensen Farms. And, to also avoid cantaloupes from an unknown source. A Jensen Farms spokeswoman has said that the fruit has been shipped to 25 states. However, because fruit can often be resold, those locations can change. The fruit from the farm has been recalled. But, more cases of the illness are expected within the next few weeks.

Listeriosis is an infection that comes from eating foods that harbor the listeria bacteria. Listeria is usually found in processed meats but can also be found in fruits, vegetables and dairy. The disease is more common among the elderly and those with weak immune systems. This includes women who are pregnant. Known symptoms are fever, muscle aches and diarrhea. It can take weeks for these symptoms to show. And, only one in five people have been known to die from the disease. Most can obtain a full recovery with treatment of antibiotics.

Victims and their families are already filing lawsuits against Jensen Farms. Charles Palmer from Colorado Springs, CO was rushed to the hospital after falling ill from a contaminated cantaloupe. The illness has left him paralyzed and unable to speak. His wife was the first to file a lawsuit against the company. Yet, she remains devastated that her husband is still in the hospital. The cantaloupe was purchased at their local Wal-Mart. However, all of the retailers that sold these cantaloupes are currently unknown.

The entire cantaloupe crop for Jensen Farms has been destroyed. But, it has left a lasting effect on many lives. The owners of the farm have announced their apologies and condolences to those affected. But, as the death toll from this outbreak is expected to rise. So are the lawsuits against Jensen Farms.

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