Aug. 18, 2012— -- Health officials have learned that cantaloupes are to blame for a salmonella outbreak that has infected 141 people in 20 states, sending 31 people to the hospital and killing two.
More than a third of those salmonella Typhimurium cases happened in Kentucky, which is also where both deaths occurred, according to the Centers for Disease Control.The bad melons came from a farm in southwestern Indiana, according to the CDC, which cites an investigation by federal, state, and local agencies. Officials interviewed 24 ill patients, and discovered that 18 ate cantaloupes prior to becoming ill.
They then found the bacteria in two cantaloupes purchased at a grocery stores.
Cantaloupes often bear a sticker that says where they were grown, so health officials have advised consumers to check the sticker and throw away melons from Indiana.
"If no sticker is present, consumers should inquire about the source," a CDC page devoted to the outbreak says. "When in doubt, throw it out."
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, vomiting and cramps, which develop between 12 and 72 hours of infection.
The illness usually runs four to seven days, unless the person is hospitalized with a severe case.
The infection originates in the intestine, but it can spread to the blood stream and other parts of the body, which can lead to death without proper treatment.