For Immediate Release
October 3, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

7 Kansas Cases Now Linked to Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis

Topeka—The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) continues to collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and health officials in other states to investigate a multistate outbreak of listeriosis associated with consumption of Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms. 

Kansas now has seven cases of listeriosis, including two deaths, definitively linked to the multistate outbreak. The two additional cases from the last update provided by KDHE on Sept. 22 have been linked to the multistate outbreak as a result of additional laboratory tests on previously reported cases. Typically, Kansas reports fewer than six cases of listeriosis per year.

Listeriosis primarily occurs among older adults, persons 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. If you have eaten a recalled cantaloupe but have not experienced any symptoms, no testing for Listeria is recommended. However, if you develop symptoms please contact your health care provider.

Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms should not be eaten but instead disposed of in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can. This will prevent people or animals from eating them. Even if some of the cantaloupe has been eaten without becoming ill, dispose of the rest of the cantaloupe immediately. If the whole cantaloupe is unlabeled, please contact your retail store to determine the source of the fruit. Listeria bacteria can grow in the cantaloupe at room and refrigerator temperatures. People should wash their hands before and after handling melon. The surface of melons should be washed and dried with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting. Cut melon should be promptly refrigerated at less than 41ºF. Cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours should be discarded.

For additional information regarding this outbreak, visit the CDC multistate foodborne illness outbreak page at http://www.cdc.gov/outbreaknet/outbreaks.html and the FDA recall media release at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm271879.htm