The CDC has confirmed 13 deaths related to the Listeria outbreak currently effecting cantaloupe, but warns us that this number may rise. There are nearly 100 people confirmed sick from this outbreak, making it one of the largest and deadliest outbreaks in over a decade.
But what does this mean if you are pregnant? What is Listeria and how can it effect you – and your growing baby?
Listeria is a bacteria that is most commonly found in certain foods like deli meats, hot dogs, soft cheese and yes, even fruits and vegetables sometimes. It usually only causes mild symptoms in grown, healthy adults, however in pregnant women there is an unfortunate side effect for the baby. Listeria can cause miscarriages or still births in pregnant women, or severe infections in their newborns.
Has your doctor given you a list of foods to avoid eating while pregnant? You’ll notice that uncooked hot dogs and deli meats are on that list. But maybe you never knew why!
The cantaloupe that are effected by this outbreak are being found in several states.
The Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes from Jensen Farms were shipped from July 29 through Sept. 10 to Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.
While most of the serious or deadly cases being reported right now are in victims over the age of 60, pregnant women should still take care. If you have a suspect fruit, get rid of it as described on the CDC website. You’ll also need to be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize the fridge and kitchen counters, since listeria can live on surfaces even in the refrigerator.