Officials have confirmed the death of 16 people from eight different states who have died after eating the Colorado cantaloupes contaminated with listeria. This is looked upon as one of the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the United States after the similar outbreak in 1998-1999.
Among the dead, there were a majority of old aged people as they are more prone the aggressive pathogen. Most of them were above the age of 60 whereas two were in their 90’s. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported here on Tuesday that 72 cases of the people from 18 states who have fallen ill since July were linked to the fruit. The officials said there could be an increase in the death toll as more cases are being investigated wherein the outbreak could be the cause of the death.
The Colorado company, Jensen Farms, which grew the cantaloupes had issued a recall earlier in September. The outbreak began in late July and there are fresh cases seen from Missouri. 4 people have already died in Missouri from the outbreak.
Listeria is a severe bacterial infection causing acute illness. Pregnant women, elderly and young ones with weaker immune system are more susceptible to the deadly disease. In milder infection cases, the patient suffers from diarrhea but in more critical cases the bacteria can attack the spinal cord causing illnesses like meningitis. This is the reason the death toll is often high in listeria food-borne outbreak.
The deadliest listeria outbreak in the US history was reported in 1985 killing around 52 people.