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There may be Listeria in your cantaloupe, the CDC warns. A recent outbreak of the potentially deadly bacteria has caused at least 15 hospitalizations in four states.
In Colorado alone, there have been 11 cases. Nebraska and Oklahoma each have had one case, and Texas has had two, reports WebMD.
The CDC believes the outbreak is being caused by contaminated cantaloupe fruit from the Rocky Ford region of Colorado. The agency is warning consumers to avoid fruit marketed as being from that region, according to WebMD.
This recent outbreak is the first Listeria outbreak stemming from cantaloupes in the United States.
No recall has been issued for the cantaloupes, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar says that the outbreak may be linked to something besides cantaloupes, such as a contaminated truck. Some grocery chains in Colorado have preemptively pulled cantaloupes from their shelves.
Listeria outbreaks primarily affect pregnant women, newborns, and those with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of infection include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. The infection may spread to a person's nervous system, causing headaches, stiff necks, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.
Listeria treatment includes taking antibiotics. But, even with prompt treatment, severe infections can result in death.
The CDC has issued several advisory guidelines as to how to best prevent getting in contact with Listeria from cantaloupes. Those at high-risk at contracting an infection should refrain from eating cantaloupes from the Rocky Ford region. Cantaloupes that are from the Rocky Ford region should be discarded in sealed plastic containers or bags to prevent other people or animals from getting to them, WebMD reports.
Those who believe they might have contracted an infection stemming from the Listeria outbreak should seek medical attention.