Friends in other states please be warned...
The outbreak -- blamed on the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes -- was first reported September 12. As of Wednesday, it had grown to 72 cases in 18 states and had killed 13 people, officials with the Centers for Disease Control said. The number of cases is expected to rise, as it can take one to three weeks for a person who ingests the bacteria to show symptoms.
All of the tainted cantaloupes were grown at Jensen Farms in Granada, Colorado, although they were shipped to 17 states -- Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
HOW TO KNOW WHERE YOUR FRUIT CAME FROM?
The recalled cantaloupes may bear a green-and-white sticker that says, "Product of USA-Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe," or a gray, yellow and green sticker that says, "Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords."
But not all cantaloupes may have a sticker... Consumers are urged to ask the supermarket or supplier if they know where the cantaloupes came from. If the cantaloupe's origins remain unconfirmed, it should be disposed of right away!
Refrigeration will not kill the Listeria bacteria, which can grow even at low temperatures, officials said. And the longer a contaminated food is stored in the refrigerator, the more opportunity the bacteria has to grow.
Listeriosis causes fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. It rarely is a serious concern for healthy children and adults, the CDC said, but can be dangerous for older adults or those with weakened immune systems. It can be treated with antibiotics.
HOW DEADLY IS THIS?
They are saying this is the deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-borne illness since 1998!