Baton Rouge woman dies of exposure to listeria

87 infections reported across country

Monday, October 3, 2011 - 9:21am

It's being called the third worst food-born disease outbreak in U.S. history. A Baton Rouge woman is dead after eating cantaloupe laced with the listeria bacteria. 15 other deaths are also reported in multiple states. Cases of listeria began popping up early this month. The bacteria has been traced back to a specific type of cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farms in Colorado.

Dr. Cran Lucas of LSUS says an outbreak like this is rare. "Even though the current ourbreak involved the cantaloupe from one farm in Colorado, listeria can infect raw meat. It can affect upasteurized milk, it can grow in the refrigerator." And that means the remote possibility of cross-contamination may still exist.

So how can you avoid contact with this deadly bacteria? Dr. Lucas reccomends washing all produce before eating it, with a scrubbing brush and plenty of clean water. And be sure to pay attention to recall notices. Health officials are urging all Americans to dispose of cantaloupes grown at the affected farm...and to keep an eye out for flu-like symptoms that come unexpectedly, particularly in elderly people or pregnant women.

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