listeria-cantaloupe-salmonella219x88.jpgThe Kansas Department of Health and Environment has confirmed that five isolates from recent listeriosis victims are genetic matches to the multistate outbreak linked to cantaloupes.  Since August 26 Kansas has had 8 cases of listeriosis, including 2 deaths.  These 8 illnesses in such a short period of time is marked increase from the usual number of listeriosis reported in Kansas, which averages fewer than 6 per year.

As of September 21, the CDC reports that 55 persons infected with the 4 outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 14 states.  It is expected the CDC will update these figures shortly to include the now confirmed Kansas victims.  All illnesses started on or after August 4, 2011. The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (14), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (4), New Mexico (10), Oklahoma (8), Texas (9), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1).

Ages range from 35 to 96 years, with a median age of 78 years old. Most ill persons are over 60 years old or have health conditions that weaken the immune system. Fifty-nine percent of ill persons are female. Among the 43 ill persons with available information on whether they were hospitalized, all were hospitalized.