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Listeria Outbreak Linked to Cantaloupes Now Deadliest Foodborne Outbreak in US History

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The death toll from the listeria outbreak that's been traced back to Colorado cantaloupes has now climbed to 29, officially making it the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak ever recorded in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the increase in the total number of deaths earlier this week, and noted that the number of people infected has gone up to 139 in 28 states.

On Wednesday night, a CDC official confirmed that this latest food-borne illness outbreak was the deadliest on record, surpassing the one linked to listeria-tainted cheese that killed 28 people in Mexico in 1985.

"There were 28 deaths (adults as well as infants) and 20 miscarriages and stillborns from Jalisco,” the official said in an email.  “No other outbreak in recent times, since we began collecting/recording data in 1973 comes close.  Of course the system for collecting and tracking foodborne disease is much more precise now.”

The outbreak stemming from the listeria-tainted cantaloupes began in August.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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