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FDA Cites Possible Source of Cantaloupe-Salmonella Outbreak

THURSDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A farm linked to a recent multi-state salmonella outbreak involving cantaloupes has been named by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The agency said late Wednesday that Chamberlain Farms Produce Inc., of Owensville, Ind., is a possible source of contamination in the salmonella outbreak, which has infected a total of 178 people in 21 states. Sixty-two people have been hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported in Kentucky.

Chamberlain Farms has launched a recall of the melons, and consumers are being warned not to eat cantaloupes from this farm, and to throw them away, the FDA said. Melons will often have stickers on them identifying where they came from, but if there is no sticker on the fruit, consumers should ask the retailer where the melon was grown, health officials said.

The decision to recall its cantaloupes was made by Chamberlain Farms after being briefed by the FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indiana state officials on the current status of the investigation into the outbreak.

Records indicate that the cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farms were initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin, but shipments sent to other states were likely, the FDA said.

The agency suggested that consumers in any state who are buying or have recently bought cantaloupes should ask their retailers if the cantaloupe was grown on Chamberlain Farms.

The investigation is continuing, to determine if there are other possible sources of the outbreak.

Most people who become infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment. Young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to have severe infections.

People who show any signs of salmonella infection should contact their health care provider, the FDA said.

This is the second time in a year that a salmonella outbreak has been linked to cantaloupes. In September 2011, melons grown at Colorado-based Jensen Farms were recalled as a probable source of contamination in an outbreak that sickened more than 139 people in 28 states, with at least 29 deaths.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about salmonella infection.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, Aug. 23, 2012

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