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Killer Cantaloupes Shipped to Arizona, but No Listeria Outbreaks Noted in State; 13 Dead Elsewhere

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Cantaloupes containing a potentially deadly bacteria that has killed 13 people were shipped to Arizona, but aren't known to have caused problems here, health officials said Tuesday.

Dozens of people have been sickened by listeria in at least 14 of the 25 other states to which the killer melons were shipped. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked Rocky Ford brand melons from grower Jensen Farms of Granada, Colorado, to the outbreak. The melons were shipped between late July and September 10.

A report by the Arizona Daily Star doesn't mention why Arizonans may have dodged this microbial bullet.

However, a Denver Post article tonight states that the death toll is likely to climb. Authorities believe three other deaths will be linked to the outbreak, and the illness caused by listeria takes up to two months to incubate.


Gross. If we ate cantaloupe in the last couple of months, in other words, we may have a bacteria-bomb already ticking in our bodies, waiting to go off.

For most people, even a nasty dose of listeria might cause nothing more than diarrhea or a headache. People are who pregnant, (and their unborn kids), elderly or with less-than-stellar immune systems are at greater risk of severe illness or death.

The fact is, food isn't as safe as we wish it was. If you really want to ruin your appetite, check out this Wikipedia list of the worst cases of food-borne illnesses in the United States over the last few decades.

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