Am I the only one mourning the death of my beloved Rocky Ford cantaloupe season?
I love those melons. So juicy. So sweet.
They're a hit with my husband too. In fact, on the day cantaloupes became suspect No. 1 in the listeria outbreak, I opened the door to my home to find my husband hunkered over the counter, sucking down one of the two cantaloupes we had in the fridge.
"Ah," I said. "You may not want to eat that."
"Huh?" he said, juice dripping down his chin.
Yeah, so anyway, thankfully stomach cramps and diarrhea have yet to descend upon our home. But listen, if you do have some cantaloupes hanging around, you may not want to eat them either.
That, and other super helpful advice are listed below, courtesy of El Paso County Public Health:
People at High Risk for Listeria Infection are Asked to Take Precautions to Protect Their Health
El Paso County Public Health has received two additional reports of Listeria in older adults, although laboratory results regarding whether they are linked to the multi-state outbreak are still pending. El Paso County now has a total of four Listeria cases including one death.
"We advise people at high risk for Listeria infection to avoid eating Rocky Ford cantaloupe and to follow the Listeria prevention measures," says Dr. Bernadette Albenses, M.P.H., medical director of El Paso County Public Health.
People at high risk for Listeria infection include people age 60 and older; pregnant women; and people with weakened immune systems from transplants or certain chronic diseases, immunosuppressive therapies or medications.
People within these high risk groups should:
· Avoid eating cantaloupe purchased from the Rocky Ford region in Colorado.
If you've purchased cantaloupe and are unsure where it came from, check the label or inquire at the store where you purchased the cantaloupe to determine if the fruit was marketed as coming from the Rocky Ford region of Colorado.
· If you have cantaloupe from the Rocky Ford region, dispose of it by placing it in a closed plastic bag and then in a sealed trash can.
· If the cantaloupe was stored in your refrigerator, Public Health advises that you clean your refrigerator with mild dishwashing detergent and water.
· Do not bring Rocky Ford cantaloupes to Public Health for testing.
In addition, other high risk foods such as hot dogs and deli meats should be reheated to an internal temperature of 165 F before eating. Avoid eating refrigerated pâté or meat spreads; refrigerated smoked seafood, and soft cheeses unless they are made with pasteurized milk.
Symptoms of Listeriosis can include fever and muscle aches, and also can include diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, confusion and convulsions. Listeriosis also can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.
If you have concerns about an illness after eating cantaloupe, contact your health care provider.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is coordinating the multi-state investigation with affected states, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also is working with local public health partners on the investigation.
For more information, visit our website at: www.elpasocountyhealth.org