A multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated cantaloupes has killed at least two people and sickened 141 others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to a CDC food poisoning report issued on August 17, the outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections, which originated on a farm in southwest Indiana, has spread to 20 states.
In addition to causing the death of two people from Kentucky, the recalled cantaloupes have been linked to illnesses that caused at least 31 other people to be hospitalized.
Investigative efforts include local, state and federal public health and regulatory agencies. The farm has agreed to recall the cantaloupe from the marketplace and has ceased distribution for the remainder of the season.
Salmonella Typhimurium food poisoning cases linked to the cantaloupes have been reported in Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1) and Wisconsin (2).
Consumers have been advised not to eat cantaloupe purchased from southwestern Indiana and to discard any remaining cantaloupe they have from that area. Growing regions can be identified by a sticker labeling the regional source of the fruit. If no sticker is seen, inquire about the source or do not buy or eat the cantaloupe in question.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause severe infection (Salmonellosis) and can result in death in some cases. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps occurring 12 to 72 hours after infection. In some cases, the diarrhea is severe enough to require hospitalization.
An estimated 42,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States each year. The elderly, infants and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to be at risk for the disease.
Many types of Salmonella bacteria exist, the most common are Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis. Approximately 400 people die each year with acute salmonellosis.
Another incidence of contaminated cantaloupe was identified last month, following an outbreak in North Carolina due to the listeria bacteria. That outbreak lead to a 580-case recall of whole Athena cantaloupes, which were distributed by Burch Farms. The listeria contaminated cantaloupe also led to the recall of honeydew melons produced this season.