Listeria attorneys at Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness, are warning consumers that the current Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe may become one of the most lethal food poisoning outbreaks in U.S. history.

As of September 23, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed 55 illnesses and eight deaths linked to the contaminated cantaloupes from 14 states. Two people have died in Colorado, one in Maryland, four in New Mexico, and one in Oklahoma. Many, including listeria lawyer William Marler, believe that number will rise as more people are confirmed as part of the outbreak. The contaminated cantaloupes were produced by Jensen Farms, of Holly, Colorado, and distributed by Fronterra Produce.

“Listeria is one of the deadliest foodborne bacteria we deal with, so in an outbreak of this magnitude, we may very well see the death count increase,” said Marler. “Of the dozens of people who have contacted us in this outbreak, some are awaiting health department confirmation that they are officially part of this outbreak. I suspect there are many more out there who are in the same boat.”

According to the FDA, cantaloupes from Jensen Farms and Fronterra Produce were shipped to at least 25 states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

“From what we’re seeing from distribution numbers and health department reports, by early next week I expect the CDC to add two deaths in Kansas, one in Missouri, and one in Nebraska, for a total of at least twelve dead from eating cantaloupe.” Added Marler, “Sadly, I’m not sure it will stop there.”

The current cantaloupe Listeria outbreak ranks as the fourth deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in U.S. history: