Death Toll Rises in Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak

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Federal health officials have raised the death toll in a listeria outbreak tied to cantaloupe. The outbreak is the deadliest in the United States in more than a decade.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday it has confirmed 100 illnesses in 20 states, including the 18 deaths.

The agency said it has confirmed two additional deaths in Colorado and one in Kansas since last week.

The CDC said it also expects those numbers to continue to rise as the symptoms of listeria can take up to two months to show up.

The contaminated cantaloupe were traced back to Jensen Farms located in Holly, Colo. The company issued a recall of the fruit in September.

The farm said it shipped cantaloupes to 28 states, though the FDA has said it may be more.

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Illnesses have been discovered in states that were not on the shipping list and company officials have said the product is often sold and resold, so they do not know everywhere it went.

Listeria is a rare disease that usually only affects about 800 people a year, according to the CDC. But it is one of the deadliest food-borne pathogens, killing up to one in five people it sickens.

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