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Second listeria death reported in Louisiana

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Posted: Oct 7, 2011 5:11 PM by Russell Jones
Updated: Oct 8, 2011 10:05 AM
Source: DHH

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Topics: baton rouge, cantaloupe, recall, listeria, bacteria, infection, death, sick, wbrz, louisiana

BATON ROUGE - Health officials confirmed today a second person in Louisiana has died from listeria, and that it was the same strain found in tainted cantaloupe that have been recalled nationwide.

According to the Department of Health and Hospitals the victim was an 81-year-old woman who died in a Shreveport hospital. A DHH spokesperson said tests showed the listeria she contracted was the same kind of listeria found in recalled cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado.

Investigators said the woman did have cantaloupe in her refrigerator, but family members said they didn't know if she had eaten any.

"This woman was hospitalized shortly after the initial recall was issued, which supports the importance of knowing the risk of eating contaminated food," said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana State Health Officer. "It is important that people who fit the criteria for being at risk for recalled cantaloupe talk to their physician if they have any symptoms so they can be treated earlier."

DHH had previously reported another listeria death in Baton Rouge, and said today they are still investigating whether that death is connected to recalled cantaloupe.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses, pregnant women and newborns. Healthy adults and children occasionally get infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill.

If you ate cantaloupe in the past 3 weeks and are in one of the high-risk groups and you are feeling sick with fever, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhea, consult your physician.

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