Listeria Outbreak Kills Many-deadliest outbreak in years

At least 13 people have died, and many more have become critical ill after eating cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria, in the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in the United States in more than a decade.  The outbreak has been reported in 18 states so far.

Listeria is a common bacteria that can be found in soil, water, decaying plant matter and manure.  A particular strain, called Listeria monocytogenes, is the culprit.  It has a very long incubation period, so it can take more than 2 months from exposure for a person to become ill.  This means that it is quite difficult to identify any particular food that would have carried the pathogen.

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