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The listeria outbreak linked to Colorado cantaloupes has claimed 13 lives and sickened 72 others, causing it to be called the “deadliest in a decade.”
Although there have been 13 confirmed deaths, as many as 16 people may have died, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated.
Listeria has a long incubation period — it could take symptoms a month or longer to appear — and can be spread from the knives used to cut fruit.
The death toll could rise as contaminated melons could still be in people’s homes, and could become the second deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-based illness.
The outbreak was tied to Jensen Farm’s Rocky Ford Cantaloupe, shipped between July 29 through Sept. 10, 2011. If the melon in question is in the home, the CDC advises to throw it out and sanitize any surface it touched.