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Cantaloupes Linked to Salmonella

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KentuckyAn outbreak of salmonella that was linked to Indiana cantaloupe has killed two and sickened at least 150 people nationwide in the last month. The food poisoning outbreak that started in July has hospitalized about 31 people in 20 states, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Health officials are still trying to identify the source of the outbreak—they are currently investigating farms, distributors and retailers. They are urging consumers to throw out any melons they have bought since July 7. What officials do know is that the Salmonella strains found in two cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana had the same genetic makeup as those causing a cluster of illnesses in Kentucky.

This current salmonella outbreak in the melons comes after the deadliest US food poisoning outbreak in more than 10 years: last year cantaloupe tainted with Listeria was traced back to a farm in Colorado that killed 30 people across 11 states.

Salmonella infections result in diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people recover without treatment, but severe infections can be life threatening in infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Dr. Kraig Humbaugh of Kentucky's Department for Public Health says they are seeing about double of food poisoning cases this year, according to Reuters (Aug 17).

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