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A multi-state listeria outbreak has sickened at least 35 people and killed four, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The listeria outbreak has been traced to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado. The FDA released a statement last week recalling Rocky Ford cantaloupe shipped between July 29 and September 10.
The death toll could rise to six as two more deaths are being investigated in New Mexico to see if they are related to the listeria outbreak. More deaths could result as listeria has a long gestation period — up to a month.
People from 10 states are reporting illnesses, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. The deaths have occurred in Colorado, Oklahoma and two in New Mexico.
Listeria is rare in produce and more likely to be found in deli meats and soft cheeses.
Healthy adults can likely avoid illness, but the elderly and ill are more likely to be infected — in the current outbreak, mostly elderly people have succumbed to the illness.
The CDC advises that the best way to avoid consumption of the contaminated cantaloupe is to throw it out.
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms.