The US Food and Drug Administration is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health agencies to investigate a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis.
At least 15 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported in Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
State and local public health officials have interviewed most of the patients and discovered that the majority of them consumed whole cantaloupes, most likely marketed from the Rocky Ford growing region of Colorado.
FDA investigators along with state health officials are working quickly to determine where in the supply chain the contamination most likely occurred and where potentially contaminated product may have been distributed.
Both FDA and state public health officials have collected product and environmental samples. Laboratory testing is underway.
Listeriosis is a rare and serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria. People who think they might have become ill should consult their doctor.
A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has "invasive" infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include older adults, people with compromised immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as cancer). In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and serious illness or death in newborn babies, though the mother herself rarely becomes seriously ill.