Yesterday, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announced in a press release that it had identified 9 cases of Listeria infection throughout the state. According to health officials, 3 of those 9 cases resulted in death. The fatal cases included a 93-year-old man from Bernalillo County, a 61-year-old female from Curry County, and a 63-year-old man from Bernalillo County. The other hospitalized cases in New Mexico come from Bernalillo, Chaves, Otero, De Baca, and Lea counties. The ill people range in age from the 43 to 96 and include 4 men and 5 women. Illness onset ranges from August 20th to early September.
NMDOH has preliminarily linked this outbreak of Listeria infections to cantaloupe. Health officials report that all nine cases had consumed cantaloupe.
This report from NMDOH comes just shortly after Dr. Chris Urbina, chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, announced that the Rocky Ford growing region may be the source of the contaminated cantaloupes that have sickened people in Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas. Health officials in New Mexico are now wondering whether these two outbreaks could be connected.
New Mexico’s cases are currently pending molecular fingerprinting laboratory tests at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to see if they are part of the same outbreak.