Two people are dead in the latest cantaloupe salmonella outbreak. More than 150 people have been reported to have the salmonella illness from cantaloupe grown in Indiana, with health officials reporting on August 17 that two residents are now dead from the outbreak.
This is not the first time that cantaloupe was linked to illnesses across the nation. In 2011, more than 20 deaths and 100 illnesses were blamed on a listeriosis outbreak traced to Rocky-Ford brand cantaloupes.
The current outbreak is reportedly due to salmonella, an illness that is linked to cantaloupe that can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain, but can be fatal for the elderly, young children and people with weakened immune systems.
It is still not clear which retailers have distributed the infected melons, so just steer clear of them until the CDC can confirm a list of distributors and retailers, especially in Indiana and Kentucky.
The Kentucky Department of Health also notes that certain watermelons from the region are also being investigated for a salmonella outbreak.
What are the main symptoms of Salmonella?
According to the CDC, A person infected with the Salmonella Enteritidis bacterium usually has fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea beginning 12 to 72 hours after consuming a contaminated food or beverage. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without antibiotic treatment. However, the diarrhea can be severe, and the person may be ill enough to require hospitalization.
Who is at risk?
The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems may have a more severe illness. Salmonella can cause death if not treated, especially in these high-risk patients. It can spread from the intestines to the blood stream and must be treated with antibiotics.