U.S. listeria death toll hits 18, plus 100 infected

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 04, 2011 5:33 PM

(Reuters) - Three more people in the United States have died and 16 more have been infected in a listeria outbreak caused by tainted cantaloupes, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.

Eighteen people have died so far in the country's deadliest foodborne outbreak in more than a decade. Five have died in New Mexico, five in Colorado, two in Texas, two in Kansas and one each in Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

One hundred people in 20 states have been infected with one of the four listeria strains involved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Listeria monocytogenes is a frequent cause of U.S. food recalls in processed meats and cheeses, but contamination in fresh produce is rare. The current outbreak was linked to a farm in Colorado.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh in Washington)