Sep 292011

At least 13 people died so far in the United States because of consumption of melons infected with listeria. Health authorities expect the death toll to rise in the coming weeks. This is the worst case of food poisoning in the U.S. over the past 12 years.

Listeria is a toxic bacterium found usually in meat and cheese. It is totally unusual for listeria to contaminate fruits and experts have not yet figured out how it got into the melons grown at Jensen Farms’ production fields in Granada, Colorado. Infection is followed by an incubation period that can last even three months.

For this reason, when health services have realized the danger, contaminated melons had already been spread over 17 U.S. federal states. Some were even exported, but authorities did not specify the destination countries. In addition to the 13 victims, more than 72 other people have been infected.

To find out more information on listeria bacteria such as symptoms, risk limit, infection route, etc, just read HERE.

Listeria is unusually resistant and can stay alive even at low temperature in the refrigerator. In addition, experts have identified in the contaminated farm, four different strains of bacteria, – another unusual element.

Listeriosis can be fatal especially in the elderly, pregnant women and people with immune systems weakened by other disease or a transplant.

Infected melons were withdrawn from stores, where they could be identified. U.S. health authorities have advised consumers to throw away the melons if they are unsure of their source.