(DES MOINES) The Iowa Department of Public Health has reported the state’s first illness linked to the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis associated with cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, Colorado.
An adult female from Northwest Iowa has recovered from the infection. The woman was pregnant at the time she became ill and subsequently suffered a miscarriage. No other illnesses associated with the outbreak have been reported to date in Iowa. The woman had eaten cantaloupe purchased at an Iowa store.
“While Jensen Farms has issued a voluntary recall of its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes, and the recalled items should be off store shelves, more illness may be reported because it can take up to two months for a person to develop listeriosis after eating contaminated food,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk.
Listeriosis is a bacterial infection. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. Healthy adults and children occasionally get infected with Listeria, but rarely become seriously ill. Pregnant women, however, are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. Older adults, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems are also in a high risk group. If you develop fever and chills while pregnant or if you are very sick with fever and muscle aches or stiff neck, consult your health care provider immediately.
The most important way to avoid listeriosis and other foodborne illnesses associated with fruits and vegetables is to make sure you thoroughly wash them, even if the item has a skin or rind. Any bacteria on the outside of the fruit or vegetable can be pulled to the inside when the knife slices through.
According to the CDC, Iowa becomes the 20th state to report an illness associated with the outbreak.