As the Listeria outbreak widens, a paranoia, of sorts, does, too. After all, if you or your children ate cantaloupe in the past month, it is easy to jump to conclusions with any upset tummy, runny bowel movement or headache.
In Huntsville, there have been no reports of infections associated with Listeria monocytogenes. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.
The massive recall started earlier this months and involved more than 300,000 Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Colorado’s Jensen Farms.
There have not been any reports of related illness anywhere in Alabama. By September 30, 2011, however. Listeria monocytogenes from the fruit have been blamed for 72 illnesses and up to 16 deaths in the following states:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
The list of deaths and illnesses could get longer over the coming weeks because the incubation period for listeria can be a month or even longer, according to the CDC. Pregnant women, the elderly and infants are most vulnerable.
Physicians with Huntsville Pediatric Associates say symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
The CDC reports that cantaloupes that are known to not have come from Jensen Farms are safe to eat. If consumers are uncertain about the source of a cantaloupe for purchase, they should ask the grocery store, which I did at Publix in Southeast Huntsville. A cantaloupe purchased from an unknown source should be discarded: “when in doubt, throw it out.”
For more on Listeria from the CDC, click here. If you are concerned that you or a family member could be infected, contact your physician immediately.