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Deadly Listeriosis Outbreak Linked to Jensen Farms’ Cantaloupes

Thirty-three deaths and 147 confirmed listeriosis cases were linked to eating Listeria contaminated cantaloupes in the most deadly U.S. food poisoning outbreak in decades. Twenty-eight states reported confirmed Listeria outbreak cases.Reported illness onset dates ranged from July 31, 2011 through October 27, 2011.

Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak – CDC Outbreak Findings

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium capable of causing a serious and life-threatening infection known as listeriosis. Pregnant women and their fetuses, newborns, older adults, and those individuals with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk for developing a Listeria infection and suffering its complications. The vulnerability of these groups to infection is clearly demonstrated by the following cantaloupe outbreak findings reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Victims ranged in age from <1 to 96 years, with a median age of 77 years.
  • Most ill persons were over 60 years old.
  • 142 of the outbreak victims were hospitalized.
  • Seven of the illnesses were related to a pregnancy; three were diagnosed in newborns and four were diagnosed in pregnant women. One miscarriage was reported.

Although less common, individuals not belonging to one of the above high risk groups can contract listeriosis.

The Cantaloupe Recall

On September 14, 2011, the FDA announced that Jensen Farms was recalling its Rocky Ford Cantaloupes because the melons had been linked to a multistate Listeria outbreak. A recall update was provided on September 29, 2011. Carol’s Cuts Fresh Cut Cantaloupes announced a recall for its Fresh Cut Cantaloupes and Cut Mixed Fruit on September 23, 2011, and Fresh Fruit Up, recalled its Fresh Cut Cantaloupe and Mixed Fruit on October 6, 2011.

As part of an extensive outbreak investigation conducted by multiple health agencies, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment isolated Listeria monocytogenes from cantaloupes obtained from grocery stores and the homes of outbreak victims. The source of these contaminated cantaloupes was Jensen Farms. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes outbreak subtypes from equipment and cantaloupes at the Jensen Farms’ facility in Granada, Colorado.

Listeriosis Symptoms and Complications

Listeriosis symptoms may include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If the Listeria infection spreads to the central nervous system, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions. Pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms.

Your doctor may use the terms Listeria sepsis, indicating that the bacteria have entered the blood stream; or meningoencephalitis or meningitis, indicating that the bacteria have entered the central nervous system causing inflammation of the brain and its membranes and spinal tissue. Additional complications may include, but are not limited to premature delivery, miscarriage or stillbirth, endocarditis, abscess formation, pneumonia, and eye and or joint inflammation.

Diagnosis of Listeria Infection

Listeriosis is typically diagnosed through a blood or spinal fluid test to look for, or isolate the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. In pregnant women, a sample of amniotic fluid may also be tested.

If you suspect that you may have contracted Listeria or are experiencing listeriosis symptoms, contact your healthcare professional. He or she can order the necessary lab work to confirm a Listeria infection.

Contact Attorney Eric Weinberg for a Listeria Lawsuit Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with listeriosis, are awaiting medical confirmation of Listeria food poisoning, or have a question regarding your legal rights, you can request a free legal case evaluation by calling the Weinberg Law Firm toll free at 1-877-934-6274. Our phones are answered 24/7. New Brunswick, NJ Lawyer, Eric Weinberg has been assisting clients with Personal Injury Lawsuits since 1984. We are ready to help you too. Please see Docusate Lawsuit and Diocto Recall Lawsuit to learn more about our legal services.

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