Rise of Listeria Outbreak in the US

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In the United States, many health officials have suggested that as many as fourteen counts of mortality can be related to the outbreak of Listeriosis. This infection is caused by a strain of Listeria monocytogenes, which was found in cantaloupe melons from a farm in Colorado.

Last week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 55 people contracted an illness and eight had died from the said outbreak. Several reports have also pointed out that official in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming are linking six other deaths to the said outbreak.

The National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases of the CDC has recently reported that fourteen states have already reported 55 total infections of the disease, and these are as follows: California (1 person), Colorado (14), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (4), New Mexico (10), Oklahoma (8), Texas (9), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1). All these casualties got ill on or before August 4. Investigations of local, state and federal officials have pointed out that whole cantaloupe melons from the Jensen Farms in Granada, Colorado are the sources of the outbreak. Following the incident, Jensen Farms have recalled their cantaloupes from the market.

According to the National Institute of Medicine, Listeriosis is a dangerous infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes). According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listeriosis is an important public health problem in the United States. The bacteria (L. monocytogenes) that cause this disease are common in wild animals, domesticated animals, and in soil and water. The bacteria make many animals sick and commonly lead to miscarriage and stillbirth in domestic animals.Vegetables, meats, and other foods you eat can get infected with the bacteria if they come in contact with contaminated soil or manure. Raw milk or products made from raw milk may carry these bacteria.

According to the CDC, the risks of acquiring listeriosis can be lessened by the following practices:

-          Thoroughly cook raw meat and poultry to a safe internal temperature.

-          Rinse raw vegetables thoroughly under running tap water before eating.

-          Keep vegetables, ready-to-eat foods and cooked foods well away from uncooked meats and poultry.

-          Avoid unpasteurized milk and foods made from it.

-          Eat perishable and ready to eat food sooner rather than later.

-          Wash your hands, utensils, cutting boards and worktops before and after handling and preparing all foods.

The federal agency has also recommended that people who are at a high risk for listeriosis and people who want to reduce the risks of getting the disease must avoid eating the brand cantaloupes from Jensen Farms. They also reminded that even if a person has already eaten the fruit without developing any sign or symptom, the rest of the fruit need to be thrown away as the bacteria can grow in room temperature and even when refrigerated.

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