As first reported by Michael Booth of the Denver Post, the official count is now 133 victims in the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak, with an astonishing 28 people dead, making this the 2nd deadliest foodborne disease outbreak in US history. If one more person dies, the cantaloupe outbreak will equal the devastating total of 29 deaths that occurred in a Listeria outbreak linked to Jalisco’s cheese more than 2 decades ago.
The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (2), Colorado (37), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (10), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (6), Montana (1), Nebraska (6), New Mexico (14), New York (2), North Dakota (1), Oklahoma (11), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (18), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (4). Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began on or after July 31, 2011. Ages range from <1 to 96 years, with a median age of 77 years. Most ill persons are over 60 years old. Fifty-six percent of ill persons are female. Among the 130 ill persons with available information on whether they were hospitalized, 128 (98%) were hospitalized. State and local health departments in these and other states are investigating other listeriosis illnesses to determine if they are part of this outbreak.