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.
To read the full NY Times article about this: Click Here