Kansas health department urges residents to not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupe
By Karrey Britt
on September 15, 2011
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is warning residents to not eat cantaloupes marketed as coming from the Rocky Ford region of Colorado because of potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause severe illness.
KDHE announced this afternoon that it is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Kansas Department of Agriculture and health officials in other states to investigate a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis associated with consumption of Rocky Ford cantaloupes.
Kansas has had six cases of listeriosis reported since Aug. 26. None of these cases has been definitively linked to the outbreak, but investigations are under way and additional laboratory testing is pending.
Typically, Kansas reports fewer than six cases of listeriosis per year. There have been seven cases this year, including the six cases under investigation.
Lisa Horn, of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, said there have been no cases reported in Douglas County.
Rocky Ford cantaloupes were distributed in Kansas, including Lawrence. One farm, Jensen Farms of Holly, Colo., issued a voluntary recall of Rocky Ford cantaloupe on Sept. 14.
According to KDHE, listeriosis primarily occurs among older adults, people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and newborns.
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting. People with these symptoms should consult a physician. Symptoms typically occur three to 70 days after exposure. Rocky Ford cantaloupes should be disposed of in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can to prevent people or animals from eating them.
For more information regarding this outbreak, visit the CDC’s outbreak page at http://www.cdc.gov/outbreaknet/outbreaks.html.