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Listeria Outbreak Kills 13 People in the US

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes grown in Colorado have caused a listeria outbreak in the US killing 13 people and infecting 72 more. The CDC reveals this outbreak is the most severe in over a decade. In 2008-09, a salmonella outbreak caused by tainted peanuts infected greater than 700 people and killed nine.

Tainted Cantaloupes Recalled
Eighteen states have been affected by this recent listeria outbreak. Deaths have occurred in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Maryland, Kansas, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. The outbreak started after July 31. The CDC says the tainted cantaloupes were grown in Jensen Farms in the town of Granada, Colorado. In response, the company recalled its brand of Rocky Ford cantaloupes. The fruits were shipped to 17 states from July to September. The FDA says consumers should throw out the tainted melons.

Weak Immunity Increases Risk
In 1998, a previous listeria outbreak caused by contaminated deli meats and hot dogs killed 32 people and infected 101. The CDC reveals that listeriosis affects about 1,600 people killing around 260. The most impacted groups are those who have weak immune systems like pregnant women and AIDS patients.

Beware of Tainted Melons
Health advocates say the FDA needs to tighten regulations and guidelines to prevent such outbreaks in the future. Since 1990, tainted melons have caused around 36 outbreaks of food-related diseases. Readers may recall the E.coli infection in Europe earlier this year which killed 48 people in Germany and affected about 4,100 more in Europe.

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