The latest (September 21) case count in the Listeria cantaloupe outbreak is 55 confirmed illnesses from 14 states, and 8 deaths (2 in Colorado, 1 in Maryland, 4 in New Mexico, and 1 in Oklahoma). But, as Bill Marler has been reporting for some time now, and now according to William Neuman at the New York Times,
[T]he numbers have increased. On Monday, a state health official in Texas said that two people had died from the strain of the bacteria there. Officials in Kansas and Nebraska said Monday that lab tests showed that a death in each of those states was linked to the outbreak, bringing the death toll reported by state and federal authorities to at least 12.
The number could continue to rise as investigators wait for lab results that could confirm whether several other deaths were related to the outbreak.
In addition, the Missouri Department of Health said Monday that an elderly person in that state died after being infected with the bacteria but that the infection was not considered the primary cause of death. It was not clear whether that death would ultimately be counted as part of the outbreak.
The C.D.C. was expected to provide an updated count later on Tuesday.
In other Listeria cantaloupe outbreak news, today we filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the family of William T. Beach, a Mustang, Oklahoma husband and father of 6 adult daughters who died from his Listeria infection on September 1, 2011. Mr. Beach was 87 years old.
For an explanation why Listeria is so devastating to the elderly, see Listeria and the elderly: medical perspectives, from a lawyer.