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Posted at 07:48 AM ET, 09/22/2011

Maryland resident among 8 confirmed dead from Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes


The CDC confirmed that the eighth death in a listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe is a person from Maryland. (Ed Andrieski - AP)
A person from Maryland is dead after eating tainted produce, bringing the death toll to eight in an outbreak of Listeria linked to Colorado-grown cantaloupes, health officials said Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the death in Maryland, but did not identify the victim.

The outbreak is confirmed to have killed a total of eight people and made another 55 people sick.

In addition to the Maryland death, four deaths were reported in New Mexico, two in Colorado and one in Oklahoma.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that the outbreak is linked to cantaloupe produced at Jensen Farms in Colorado.

The melons were contaminated with a strain of Listeria, FDA officials said. Listeria is a dangerous but uncommon bacteria that thrives in cool temperatures and usually affects deli meats, hot dogs and soft cheeses.

The CDC said this is the highest death count related to food contamination since tainted peanuts were linked to nine deaths in 2008. Officials said other reported cases are under investigation and warned that the death count could go higher.

By  |  07:48 AM ET, 09/22/2011

 
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