August 19, 2012
Salmonella Outbreak Blamed On Indiana Cantaloupes
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Two are dead and 141 others have fallen ill as a result of a salmonella outbreak that has spread across 20 US states, state and federal health officials told Marc Santora of the New York Times on Saturday.
The earliest known illness dates back to July 7, with patients ranging from the ages of one to 92, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Santora. The outbreak, which has been linked to infected cantaloupes from an Indiana farm, has hit the state of Kentucky the hardest, as both fatalities and 50 of the sickened individuals originated from there, he added.
"As a result of the initial investigations by the state health departments in Indiana and Kentucky, a farm in southwestern Indiana has contacted its distributors, which reach outside Indiana into other states, and is withdrawing its cantaloupe from the market place," the CDC said in an August 17 statement. "The farm has agreed to cease distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season."
"Consumers who recently purchased cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana are advised not to eat them and discard any remaining cantaloupe," the agency added. "Based on the available information, consumers can continue to purchase and eat cantaloupes that did not originate in southwestern Indiana“¦. Many cantaloupes have the growing area identified with a sticker on the fruit. If no sticker is present, consumers should inquire about the source. When in doubt, throw it out."
CDC officials interviewed 24 patients, and learned that 18 of them had eaten cantaloupes before coming down with symptoms, which include diarrhea, vomiting and cramps, ABC News reporter Sydney Lupkin explained. Health officials also discovered the same strain of salmonella in a pair of the melons purchased from grocery stores, Lupkin and the Associated Press (AP) added.
Friday night, Wal-Mart Stores began pulling all cantaloupe grown in the southwestern part of Indiana from store shelves, Bloomberg's Stephanie Armour said. A spokeswoman from the retail giant told Armour that they had not received confirmation that the tainted fruit was sold at Wal-Mart locations, but they were nonetheless voluntarily removing potentially infected cantaloupes "in an abundance of caution."
According to CDC and FDA statistics, the number of illnesses in each of the affected states are as follows: 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.