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Death Toll From Cantaloupe-Linked Listeria Outbreak Now Stands at 23
Date:10/12/2011

ur refrigerator, the listeria will continue to grow," Frieden said. "That's one of the reasons why we may see continued cases from cantaloupe already in people's refrigerators in the days and weeks ahead."

Although listeria tends to infect fewer people, it is typically deadlier than other foodborne pathogens and inordinately affects the elderly, newborns, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system. People can develop meningitis from the organism, but many people only experience milder diarrhea.

According to the CDC, some 1,600 cases are reported annually in the United States, resulting in 260 deaths.

The bacterium tends to grow in soil and water. But animals can also carry the organism and pass it on to humans through meats, dairy products and other foods of animal origins. Most listeria outbreaks are from animal products, not produce, the CDC said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on listeria.

SOURCES: Oct. 12, 2011, news release, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sept. 28, 2011, news conference with Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Margaret Hamburg, M.D., commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration


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