In an outbreak of Salmonella illness tied to cantaloupes that began last month, 302 people in 42 states have now fallen ill. As of Dec. 15, four people had died and 129 had been hospitalized, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In Canada, 153 cases linked to the same outbreak were reported by Dec. 15, including 53 hospitalizations and six deaths, health officials there stated.
While Salmonella can make anyone sick, illnesses in this outbreak have been particularly severe, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted in its own update. The old and very young appear to be especially at risk.
“Adults 65 and older, children under 5 years, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get very sick from Salmonella,” the CDC said. “In this outbreak, 40 sick people resided in long-term care facilities and 30 children attended child care centers before they got sick.”
Given the number of cases observed among the elderly and children, the “CDC [also] advises facilities that care for people who are at higher risk for severe illness to not serve cantaloupes that may be contaminated,” the agency said. “This includes recalled cantaloupes and cantaloupe that was supplied pre-cut if the brand of whole cantaloupes used are not known.”
The outbreak was first reported Nov. 14. The CDC has stressed that the true number of illnesses is likely far higher than announced, because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella.
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