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CDC Adds 3 More Deaths to Toll of 2011 Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised the official death toll of last year’s cantaloupe-linked Listeria outbreak from 30 to 33.

Since the CDC issued its final outbreak report on December 8 2011, 3 more outbreak victims have died, but federal health officials had yet to confirm that these deaths were a direct result of Listeria infection.

That confirmation came Monday when CDC published an addendum to its final report, noting that “the number of outbreak-associated deaths has increased by three since December 8, 2011.”

On December 18, ten days after the CDC report was issued, 97-year-old Paul Schwartz of Kansas City died from complications of his Listeria infection.

A little over a month later, on January 29, 2012, Sharon Jones – aged 62 – of Castle Rock, Colorado died from complications due to stage IV breast cancer and listeriosis.

Then in July a government analysis of a Listeria strain isolated from the stool sample of a 72-year-old Bozeman, Montana man who had died in January turned out to match a strain from another outbreak victim’s home in Colorado.

This match marked the first time that specific strain of Listeria had been linked to the 2011 outbreak, adding a fifth strain to the other four already associated with the outbreak, and adding the Bozeman man to the list of outbreak victims.

All 3 of these deaths are now considered to be due to listeriosis infection from the contaminated Colorado cantaloupes implicated in the 2011 outbreak.

Not all deaths that have occurred among outbreak victims were due to Listeria infection, notes CDC.

“Ten other deaths not attributed to listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected with an outbreak-associated subtype,” says the report. “State and local public health officials reviewed causes of death listed on death certificates to determine whether to attribute these deaths to listeriosis.”

Deaths analyzed for the addendum occurred as recently as February 29, 2012, says the agency.

The 2011 Listeria outbreak sickened at least 147 people. Among the 145 of these for whom information was available, 99 percent — or 143 people — were hospitalize as a result of their infections.

© Food Safety News
  • Ben

    These are only statistic numbers for the food industry. As we can see there is little or nothing done to prevent another outbreak.