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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Listeria and Cantaloupe some things you should know

By Alice Park

Cantaloupes contaminated with listeria have triggered the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in the U.S. in 10 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported on Tuesday.

Basic information on the bug and how to keep yourself from getting sick.

Listeria is bacteria from the Listeria monocytogenes family that can cause listeriosis infection. The bacteria have a long incubation period, which means that it may take as long as four weeks for people who have eaten contaminated cantaloupe to feel ill.

Listeriosis typically causes fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Other symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.

Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has “invasive” infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract, according to the CDC. In some cases, that can lead to more severe illness like meningitis.

What do I do if I’ve eaten the contaminated cantaloupe?

If you feel ill within two months of eating contaminated cantaloupe, see a physician immediately and make sure to tell your doctor about what you’ve eaten. In high-risk groups, including pregnant women, the bacteria can be fatal. Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, however.

Because listeria has such a long incubation period, experts at the CDC and FDA expect that more people will become ill, some seriously so, in the coming weeks.

How do I avoid getting infected?

Always wash your hands after handling whole melons such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon, and wash or scrub rinds before cutting. Once fruit is cut, eat it promptly or refrigerate the leftovers for no more than a few days.

Unlike some other pathogens, listeria can grow well even in refrigerator temperatures.

Listeria and Cantaloupe: 6 Things You Need to Know

(Listeria and obamacare have something in common. (1) They both can kill you. (2) They both take a while to kick in. (3) After they kick in its almost to late to remedy the situation. :)Story Reports

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