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Each new day brings more tragic news in this year’s deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak.

Today, Nebraska reported its first outbreak death from listeriosis – a man in his 80’s from the western part of the state. Nebraska now has six confirmed cases of listeriosis – all of them apparently associated with the Colorado cantaloupe outbreak.

New Mexico’s confirmed and suspect case count and death toll also increased today. The state now has 10 confirmed cases, including 4 deaths. An additional three illnesses are under investigation; one of those three people has died.

According to the Denver Post, the number of cases in Colorado has increased to 15.

Finally, Kansas reported yesterday evening that five of its Listeria monocytogenes cases have been confirmed as matching the multi-state outbreak; three more cases are still pending. Two of the eight Kansas patients died.

With these updates, the number of confirmed and suspect cases – and deaths – are as follows:

  • California:- 1 confirmed outbreak case; none of the recalled cantaloupes were shipped to California.
  • Colorado:- 15 confirmed outbreak cases, including 2 deaths.
  • Illinois:- 1 confirmed outbreak case; no additional cases under investigation at this time. The infected individual is an 82-year-old woman from suburban Cook County. She became ill on September 7th, and was subsequently hospitalized.
  • Indiana:- 1 confirmed outbreak case. None of the recalled cantaloupes were shipped directly to Indiana.
  • Kansas:– 5 confirmed cases; 3 cases under investigation. Two deaths.
  • Maryland:- 1 fatal confirmed outbreak case. None if the recalled cantaloupes were shipped directly to Maryland.
  • Missouri:- 2 cases under investigationOne death.
  • Montana:- 1 confirmed outbreak case in Yellowstone County; 1 suspect case from Gallatin County. Recalled cantaloupes were not shipped directly to Montana.
  • Nebraska:- 6 confirmed outbreak cases, all 70+ years old; two victims are 90+ years old. One death.
  • New Mexico:- 10 confirmed outbreak cases, including 4 deaths. All 10 individuals were hospitalized. Victims’ ages range from 43 to 96 years, and include 6 women and 4 men. Patients are from seven different New Mexico counties.Three additional cases – including 1 death – are under investigation.
  • Oklahoma:-  8 confirmed outbreak cases, including one death. Two additional cases are under investigation. Outbreak-related illnesses have been reported from Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Love and McCurtain counties. Victims range from 61 to 96 years old; two-thirds are male.
  • Texas:- 9 confirmed outbreak cases.
  • Virginia:- 1 confirmed outbreak case. Recalled cantaloupes were not shipped directly to Virginia.
  • West Virginia:- 1 confirmed outbreak case. Recalled cantaloupes were not shipped directly to West Virginia.
  • Wisconsin:- 2 confirmed outbreak cases. Recalled cantaloupes were not shipped directly to Wisconsin.
  • Wyoming:- 1 confirmed outbreak case.
Overall, the human cost of this outbreak is now
  • 13 deaths
  • 74 infected in 16 states
  • Overall death rate of 17.6%
Earlier today, I sent an email to FDA, asking the following two questions:
  1. Does FDA have ANY plan to release a list of retailers and/or distributors who were supplied with these cantaloupes?
  2. Will FDA be releasing the Form 483 resulting from the Jensen Farms inspection?

(Form 483 is a reported that is handed to a food facility immediately following an inspection when significant violations have been found.)

I received a link to the updated list of affected states, followed by the statement, “We will make public the results of the root cause investigation when it is finished.”

Clearly, FDA has no intention of releasing any distribution information beyond a list of states to which the cantaloupes are believed to have been shipped. Unlike USDA, FDA apparently does not believe that making this information public is an appropriate part of its mandate.

For an updated list of retailers and food service distributors who may have – or who report that they have not – sold the recalled cantaloupes, please visit eFoodAlert’s updated retail distribution list.

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