Today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a press release announcing that officials have identified cantaloupe as the likely source of Colorado’s recent listeria outbreak which is now believed to be multistate.
According to the release, although Colorado initially reported 13 listeria cases, just 9 of those cases have been linked to the multistate outbreak. Those 9 cases also include two potentially related cases in Texas and Nebraska. After conducting interviews with those sickened, officials learned that all nine of Colorado’s confirmed linked cases consumed cantaloupe. However, no specific source of the contaminated product has been identified.
The release further explains that:
All of the ill people in Colorado were hospitalized and two died; one of the two deaths is not among the nine cases that now are part of the multistate investigation. Confirmed Listeria cases in Colorado are in the following counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld. The people range in age from the 30s to the 90s. The average age is 84. The majority are female.
As the investigation continues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be coordinating the multistate investigation with affected states, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). CDPHE is also working with local public health partners on the investigation.
Dr. Chris Urbina, chief medical officer with the CDPHE, recommended that people avoid the consumption of cantaloupe, especially those who are at high risk for listeria infection.