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Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Thirteen people have now died from consuming bacteria-tainted cantaloupe in what has become the deadliest outbreak of a food-borne illness since 1998, according to records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The outbreak -- blamed on the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes -- was first reported September 12, when the CDC said 15 people in four states had been infected. The illnesses were traced to consumption of Rocky Ford cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms' fields in Granada, Colorado.
Listeriosis causes fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. It is rarely a serious concern for healthy children and adults, according to the CDC, but it is particularly dangerous for older adults, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women, in whom it can cause miscarriages, stillbirth, premature delivery or cause a life-threatening infection in a newborn.