« Actor, Iraq Vet Lobby for Increased Biomedical Research Support | Main | Debate over 'Forced' HPV Vaccination Re-Opened »

Colorado Farm Confirms Listeria Found in Cantaloupe; Faces Lawsuit

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FDA announced a recall Thursday for cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, after the Colorado company confirmed that one of its Rocky Ford melons had tested positive for the bacterium Listeria.

The farm had previously voluntarily recalled shipment of its cantaloupes to 17 states, but it is not clear if those fruits are linked to the two confirmed deaths and 22 cases of listeriosis -- a potentially deadly infection.  The melons were shipped between July 29 and Sept. 10.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the current Listeria outbreak is the first tied to cantaloupe in the U.S.  Cases have been reported in seven states and Colorado officials have told retailers to remove Jensen's cantaloupes from the shelves.

KMGH-TV, an ABC New affiliate in Denver, reported Thursday that a couple was expected to file the first lawsuit related to the outbreak after the husband ate a Jensen cantaloupe and got sick.  He tested positive for listeriosis and remains hospitalized.

According to the CDC, listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.  It primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.  Rarely, persons without these risk factors can be infected.

A person with the infection usually has a fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions often preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.  Pregnant women typically experience flu-like illness but infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or infections in the newborn.

The CDC says that an estimated 1,600 people become seriously ill with listeriosis every year and of these people, 260 die.  A blood or spinal fluid test to look for the bacteria is used to diagnose the infection.  Antibiotics given promptly can cure the illness and prevent infection in the fetus.  But even with treatment, some infections can lead to death, especially in at-risk adults.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>

ABC News Radio