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What you need to know about Listeria monocytogenes
September 28th, 2011
12:35 PM ET

What you need to know about Listeria monocytogenes

With an outbreak of sickness linked to  bacteria-tainted cantaloupe now reported in more than a dozen states, here's a quick backgrounder on listeria monocytogenes.

What is it?
Listeria monocytogenes is a “hardy” bacterium that is resistant to extreme hot and cold. This bacterium is pathogenic – meaning that it is infectious to humans, causing the illness listeriosis.

Where does it come from?
Listeria is found in soil, water and the intestines of some animals. Unfortunately, most animals show no symptoms so the bacterium is transferred to raw foods such as unpasteurized dairy products, raw vegetables and raw meats. And unlike similar types of bacteria, listeria can grow in the low temperatures of a refrigerator.

Studies also suggest that up to 10% of humans may be carriers. The FDA says that when listeria gets into a factory environment it can live for several years.

But how did it get inside of cantaloupes?
Cantaloupes and other fruits with porous surfaces can become infected by listeria when soil and/or water seeps through their skin. Any bacterium that remains on the outside can be transferred from the shell to the inside when the fruit is sliced open by a knife or handled.

Who is most at risk?
Listeriosis primarily affects the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems. In the U.S., an estimated 1,600 people become seriously ill each year; approximately 16% of these illnesses result in death. Cervical infections caused by listeriosis in pregnant women may result in spontaneous abortion during the second or third trimesters or stillbirth.

What are the symptoms of listeriosis?
The early symptoms of listeriosis are similar to those of the flu with nausea, muscle aches and a high fever. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea may also appear. The length of time between infection and the appearance of symptoms is unknown.

How can I protect myself?
Recommendations for keeping food safe from listeria are similar to those used to protect against other foodborne illnesses. Remember to cook meat to the USDA’s recommended temperatures and to wash all raw vegetables and fruit. Keep your fridge below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and eat leftovers within three to four days, the CDC says.

I’ve eaten a cantaloupe! What should I do?
Your risk of developing listeriosis is extremely low, even if the cantaloupe you ate was contaminated. If you do not have any symptoms you’re most likely in the clear. However, if you’re in one of the high risk groups and showed symptoms up to two months after eating a possibly contaminated product, contact your doctor.

Has this happened before?
About 800 cases of Listeria infection are diagnosed each year in the United States, along with three or four outbreaks of Listeria-associated foodborne illness. A multi-state outbreak of listeria from contaminated hot dogs and deli meats occurred in 1998, killing 21. Between 1998 and June 2009, 48 deaths from listeria-caused illnesses were reported by the CDC’s Foodborne Outbreak Online Database.

Got a question about the outbreak? Ask it below and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

To learn more visit the FDA's Bad Bug Book or the CDC's section on listeriosis.


soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Jennifer Justice

    Does Listera cause severe headaches, nausia, asperating vomit when laying down?

    September 28, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • quitsa

      No. You are sick whether you stand, sit or lay down

      September 28, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • Tessa

      If you or someone you know is aspirating vomit, that person needs to go to the hospital. Lung infections and pneumonia caused by aspiration are very dangerous.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • MrMicroMojo

      Aspiration of vomitus (stomach contents) is also NOT to be trifled with. Lung infections and pneumonia are secondary problems brought on by the aspiration. The primary problem is the damage to lung cells brought about by the hydrochloric acid produced during digestion. A "neutral" solution of the old pH scale is 7. Pure acid such as HCl is 0. The other end of the scale, indicating not acid but it's complimentary "basic" ions, goes up to 14. Stomach contents may vary from ph 1.5-3.5 that is considered caustic, i.e., will damage lung tissue.

      That's a simple explanation of the problem.

      October 8, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Davin

      No. Those symptoms are usually associated with Budweiser flu.

      July 4, 2013 at 00:25 | Report abuse |
  2. Lori Valleroy

    When you have listeria monocytogenes do you also test positive for mononucleosis?

    September 28, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • quitsa

      Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein Barr virus not the bacteria that causes Listeria therefore these 2 illnesses are NOT connected.

      September 28, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  3. rc

    I wonder if Organic cantalopes are at center of outbreak. People don't realize that Organic veg/fruit farming isn't what they want to believe. Animal waste as well as other bio waste are used for fertilizer. Could this fertilizer have 'bugs' in it such as listeria, e-coli, samonila? And our society is moving to this 'organic' fad and willing to pay more for it too, go figure. Hard to prove the economy is so bad when we are willing to pay 50% more for the word – 'Organic' -

    September 28, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TM

      I doubt it. These were pre-cut pieces of cantaloupe, ready to buy/eat from the store and typically they are not made with organic cantaloupes. Chances are the employee making those cuts doesn't wash the cantaloupes first... i'll never eat pre-cut fruit, I'll cut it myself thank you very much. Not to mention they are ridiculously expensive too....

      September 28, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Coloradan in Texas

      Answers:

      The infected Cantaloupes were WHOLE cantaloupes that were CONVENTIONALLY grown (not organic).

      They were shipped to retail locations in the following states; IL, WY, TN, UT, TX, CO, MN, KS, NM, NC, MO, NE, OK, AZ, NJ, NY, PA.

      They were shipped between JULY 29th and SEPT. 10. They were recalled on Sept. 14.

      I just moved from Colorado to Central Texas and I've eaten a lot of cantaloupe in the last few months.

      Sources: http://www.rfordcantaloupe.com/ & http://www.jensenfarms.com/index.cfm/pages/view/id/4/page/PRODUCTS

      September 28, 2011 at 22:37 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      "Organic" foods don't have any pesticides or antibiotics in them. The "Conventional" foods have pesticides and antibiotics that don't kill all the bacteria, so they concentrate more harmful strains of bacteria.
      We used to eat conventional foods, and we didn't smoke. My husband has stage 3 colon cancer, which costs a whole lot more than organic food (even just the co-pays and cost caps). You save a lot of money (and emotional turmoil) eating organic foods.

      September 29, 2011 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
    • Les

      @rc

      Organic foods do not carry disease by virtue of how they are grown. Naturally grown and and organically fertilized food does not carry many, if any, antibiotic resistant bacterias that are present in soils that are maintained by chemically grown foods. There is more good that can be said about it than bad on every level from production, to processing, to table.

      Compare a vine ripened organic tomatoe to a cello tomato for taste. You will be shocked that the cello tomato doesn't taste the least bit like a real vine ripened organic tomato. I think the cost of organic produce is criminally high considering how much money the grower saves from not having to buy poisons and fertilizers, part of that cost can be blamed on the consumer who must have everything uniform in color and size which makes for a whole lot of waste of perfectly good food that is slightly blemished or of the wrong size. But the same can be said for the cost of any fresh produce, when it costs more for serving than its canned processed counterpart. Any basic math will show you that processed food is more costly per usable product than fresh but a pound of uncooked peas in the pod should never cost more than a pound of frozsen shelled peas.

      Back to the subject, this illness is but rarely found on organic food and is often less virulent when it is found..

      September 29, 2011 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Vegetables grown organically SHOULD have been grown in soil with plenty of non-pathogenic organisms that compete w/ pathogens if the soil was properly maintained. However, organic labeling in the USA doesn't mean the same thing as organic described by J. I. Rodale. For example.. I tried growing oyster mushrooms inside which became contaminated w/ a green "slime". I threw the mess outside and the slime disappeared and the mushrooms successfully fruited.

      October 23, 2013 at 04:31 | Report abuse |
  4. JQA

    I was flying back from Barcelona, and the person I was with and I had some deli meat served by the airline. By the time we landed, I was about to throw up, and almost didn't make it. The person I was with was ill for about a month, and finally thought she had recovered. Another month later she was visiting me, got up one morning, and completely passed out. She felt very nauseous, and it was a similar feeling to what she had after returning from Barcelona. Is it possible that this was listeria rather than another type of food poisoning, and could still be lurking in her system? She is immune compromised, allergic to wheat and dairy, and has a pretty sensitive intestine. Here immune response to infections is strong and immediate, and she feels that there may still be something infecting her, as she will have weak spells and chills from time to time.

    September 28, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mom of three

      i dont know how they test for listeria but if she feels rhat poorly still it couldn't hurt to be tested

      September 28, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      She needs to be fully tested to see what this is. Other forms of food poisoning, such as e-coli, can also wait for symptoms to appear, and can cause kidney failure. It is harder to treat food poisoning than other infections because of the way the digestive system handles bacteria; if you kill some of the harmful bacteria, it can concentrate the worst of the bacteria. A doctor experienced in food poisoning needs to see her, and you too.

      September 29, 2011 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
  5. TM

    Can Listeria be washed away ? e.g. when washing raw vegetables and fruit ? Is it recommended to wash vegetables that have already been "pre-washed" ?

    September 28, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      The article says it doesn't die in the refrigerator, so I would doubt it.
      However, for vegetables, some e-coli bacteria washes away in the traditional way of handling salads (that few know now): you soak the salad in very salty water for at least 20 minutes (fully submerged), then rinse thoroughly.
      Also, at one time, people knew not to use animal dung for fertilizer for foods that will be eaten raw.

      September 29, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
  6. Gary Upchurch

    While living in Mexico, we washed most all of the fruits and vegetables with an iodine solution in water which was available in most every store. Is this something that is going to become standard process in the United States? Can Listeria be killed this way on the outside of produce?

    September 28, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. The Doctor is in

    Well, since "Jensen Farms continues to stay committed to the highest levels of food safety" I guess we're lucky the body count is this low!. And "We continually look for ways to enhance our protocol." is double speak for "We will continue to ship tainted product until it kills someone. After all the American public makes a great test kitchen".

    And BTW, thanks for the apologies to the families of the dead people. Maybe Jensen can make it up....send them some free cantaloupe or something.

    September 28, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Rob

    Just think how safe our food system will be in about 2-3 years with all of the budget cuts, and if the Tea Party gets more of what they want, companies will simply self-regulate. Caveat emptor (both your food and your government you vote for)

    September 28, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Maverick2591b

      Lemme guess...now they're going to say Obama is to blame.........

      September 29, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      The Tea Party is busy saying, "Let them eat cake," and like Marie Antionette who pretended to be a shepherdess, they are careful to get rid of the people who actually harvest the crops, so that the good food rots in the ground.
      This is because if the sun, earth, or asteroid doesn't destroy us, they are determined to do it themselves.

      September 29, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
    • john

      Just what we need...more govt inspectors....Im sure that wll alleviate the problem
      How bout everyone use plain old common sence

      September 29, 2011 at 23:00 | Report abuse |
  9. fubarack

    Pentagon terror attack foiled, go to Fox for coverage. CNN won't cover this.

    September 28, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ldean

      It was CNN's headline yesterday. Try to keep up.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
  10. ginamooreauthor

    Is there any way to find out which food stores these cantaloupes were shipped to?

    September 28, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seconded

      +1

      And was it really just pre-cut cantaloupes? Were they diced? Or Halved? Or whole?

      September 28, 2011 at 22:26 | Report abuse |
    • mom of three

      i almost always shop at the same two stores. i just picked up the phone and called them.

      September 28, 2011 at 22:27 | Report abuse |
  11. mom of three

    I know they are saying it could take as much as two monthes to show up but what is the norm? how soon do symptoms show? what is the average?

    September 28, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. concerned daughter

    Will an infected person test positive for h pylori if they have this?My mom got sick and was tested positive for h pylori.Shortly afterwords I found out about the cantelopes.She had eaten a lot of cantelopes over the summer because it is her favorite fruit.

    September 28, 2011 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • minouche

      No, H pylori bacter is unrelated in this instance. It is a primary concern for the gut, where it can opportunistically embed itself create peptic (bleeding) ulcers. An antibiotic can easily treat (not all, but a specific course with co-treatment) and clear up the problems in <2 weeks. Almost impossible to be related to canteloupes though.

      September 29, 2011 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
  13. OUTRADGIOUS! I GUESS WHEN AMERICANS WAKE UP

    2+2=? LETS SEE MAYBE THE GOVERMENT WILL EXPERIENCE SOME OF THESE TAINTED FOODS AND SUFFER THE SYMPTOMS THEY DELIVER. GUESS WE NEED TO POLICE EVERY CORNER ON THE BLOCK AND CATCH THE CARELESS INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE AND WE CAN GET BACK TO BEING A NATION THAT BELIEVES IN ITSELF AGAIN

    September 28, 2011 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Theresa

    I have these symptoms, but no high fever. But I also have some cold symptoms and small outbreak of fever blisters. What'cha think? (I live in Colorado.)

    September 29, 2011 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamudoon

      You're fine. I've had listeria three times and almost died each time. The CONSTANT vomiting caused me to become so dehydrated that I had to be hospitalized, and I still almost didn't make it. I also had severe nausea, panic attacks, and tremors so bad that it looked like I was having seizures. I recovered in a few days, thankfully, but it's an absolutely terrifying illness. It's difficult to pinpoint the precise food that caused it because listeria has an incubation period of anywhere from 7 to 14 days, so it could have been anything you've eaten in the past week or two.

      But having been through it three times, trust me, you're fine. Don't worry yourself. Good luck in feeling better, though! :)

      September 29, 2011 at 08:05 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Keep watching out for yourself. There are so many different diseases with "flu-like" symptoms. A rash can also be caused by some of the worst of them. Fever is not always present in illnesses; if you are without any energy for a week, see a doctor anyway. If you have symptoms that get much worse in a few hours, don't wait to see a doctor.

      September 29, 2011 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
  15. Giarc

    Small organic farms are safer because they don't have the volume to push. Big companies are concerned about profit first. They react to situations like this because it can effect their bottom line.

    September 29, 2011 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anger

      Just because it's "Small" doesn't mean it's safer. Smaller farms may skip some safety checks because they can't afford it and/or save some money.... and just because they carry the word "Organic" doesn't in anyway mean "100% safe"

      September 29, 2011 at 08:57 | Report abuse |
  16. trai

    How does this get on the cantaloupe?

    September 29, 2011 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. finalturismo@gmail.com

    13 deaths? and its on the front page of cnn. Statistically you have a higher chance of contracting a deadly bacteria from a different food first. This is just war on organic foods, when really the real threat is cross contamination of geo crops into the wild. But you never hear about that, and you dont hear about the GMO corn that grows with pesticides in it.

    Now they are gonna destroy truck loads of food, and crack down on organic.

    September 29, 2011 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      The cantaloupe is from a CONVENTIONAL, not ORGANIC farm.

      September 29, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
  18. Robin Shrout Montana

    If I have fed cantelope to my pigs, can they inturn transmit the disease to me through their meat?

    September 29, 2011 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kbray003

      No, you are going to cook your meat, right? There all all sorts of bacteria in the gut of your pigs, including listeria. As long as you follow normal prep procedures like not using the same knife, plate, etc. on the cooked meat as you did with the raw meat you are fine. This is a bacteria that occurs naturally in livestock; there's no need to be alarmed by the fact that you pig may have eaten some.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Actually, it depends on the disease. If a pig is getting antibiotics in its feed, and gets a very powerful strain of bacteria (such as strep), and some of the bacteria survives (so it is a super bacteria), then you might be able to cook it away, but it will still be a serious problem, unless you use plastic gloves when handling the meat. It is possible to get food poisoning through the skin, and food poisoning includes any bacteria, including bacteria that causes other kinds of infections. So, you might be O.K. if you are not the cook for your family, don't buy the groceries, and are not the person who cleans your kitchen.

      September 29, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
  19. Charlie

    Cantalope is not a meat, so the advice to "cook" it does not apply. Washing does not kill bacteria. Cantalope is eaten raw.
    I assume that putting it into a fruit salad with a wine, the alcohol will kill that listera. Is that true?

    "Recommendations for keeping food safe from listeria are similar to those used to protect against other foodborne illnesses. Remember to cook meat to the USDA’s recommended temperatures and to wash all raw vegetables and fruit. Keep your fridge below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and eat leftovers within three to four days, the CDC says."

    September 29, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      How long are you soaking the cantaloupe in the 150 proof rum? It depends...
      I think a little drink of wine would just make the listeria happy, not dead.

      September 29, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
    • Aurelien

      One obvious thing that the media or ibpluc health officials fail to address is the predominate way that food is grown and distributed in out country. It may bring the cost down, but it definitely isn't healthy. I believe if looked into in depth, that many of these outbreaks can be traced back to contaminated farms that house chicken, cows, pigs, etc. These are not natural places, and are highly contaminated and thus the animals in such close quarters must be given mass amounts of antibiotics, and growth hormones and fed an unnatural diet. If these farms are at all upstream from agriculural farms, it easy to see where the contamination comes from.We definitely could benefit from smaller meat and poultry and crop raising farms that produce a healthier product. This goes against where the big money interests are at this time.

      April 8, 2012 at 03:27 | Report abuse |
  20. suep62

    where exactly can i file a complaint? I checked the cdc site and nowhere can i see to report this illness from cantaloupe.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CNNUser

      Report suspected cases like this to your local health department. They investigate and report to the CDC.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
  21. Barb

    How does a person find out if any of the cantaloupes were sold at roadside stands in Rocky Ford, Colorado or if they were only shipped out to states? Purchased some while on vacation Labor Day weekend.

    September 29, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Walt

      Even though Jensen Farms uses the Rocky Ford name, they are located in Holly, CO, 90+ miles away. Considering all the cantaloupe grown near Rocky Ford, it not likely Jensen would haul theirs to roadside stands in Rocky Ford. Unless you question stand operators, not sure how you would determine the source of their produce.

      September 29, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • Ahmed

      One of the most crucial ways of sntyiag healthy is influenced by our diet, specifically the products we choose to consume. I strongly believe that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should receive more funding from the government in order to guarantee the high quality and safety of our food supply. I feel safer knowing that the foods I eat will not harm my body due to the thorough inspections it underwent before packaging for distribution. The outbreak of Listeria, a fatal foodborne illness originally found in cantaloupe, is a key concern for consumers nationwide as people continue to fall victims to the contaminated fruit. I think the government should focus on correcting current issues and weaknesses in the food system because what is the point of worrying about future problems when we can attempt to fix the ones we have? It is shocking that one in six people become ill from foodborne illnesses each year, and to think I’ve been so naive believing that I was invulnerable to illnesses pertaining to food. Recently I’ve been reading food labels and trying to be more attentive about the preparation and consumption of the foods I eat because of my values of health and education. Although this type of news can cause panic and lead to other myths about certain fruits, the public should be aware of both the health benefits and risks of food products.

      April 8, 2012 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
  22. J. M. JENJINS

    could severe adominal pain with a feeling of being bloated to the extent that one feels they will exploid be symptoms of listera? . There was also bad back and side pain along with vomiting

    September 29, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      And you went to the doctor and had a stool sample and they said...?

      September 29, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
  23. SuzieQ

    Does anyone know how close the cantaloupe farm is near a factory farm, a dairy farm, or a cattle feedlot? If so, the listeria could have came from their runoff and contaminated the soil. This is how e-coli has been spread to spinach. People who haven't done their research think this, and other disease related bacteria, actually come from fruits/veggies. The news hardly ever does a story about the point of origin.

    If these came from an organic farm, the farmer could be doing everything right, and the contamination came from an outside source. Someone mentioned the manure used as fertilize. If it was composted first, that would have killed the bacteria.

    September 29, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      It is a CONVENTIONAL, not ORGANIC farm.

      September 29, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • Laurie K.

      My original post from 10/02 didn't appear for some reason however, if you visit http://www.nutritionfacts.org, Dr. Michael Gregor gives an explanation to your question. The site has an abundance of fantastic info on food and your health!

      October 5, 2011 at 00:03 | Report abuse |
    • Rosalinda

      This is so timely. With the reecnt outbreaks of Listeria popping up all over the country, restaurants need to be more aware than ever of the dangers of not handling cantaloupe correctly. It's obvious some of them weren't handling it correctly and I think we're seeing the result of that mishandling now. It illustrates how crucial proper food handling procedures really are.

      April 8, 2012 at 05:20 | Report abuse |
    • Shakti

      Now that I work in the lab at the health dntarpmeet I hear about all sorts of foodborne illness. My favorite story is from the lab before I started here. There was a potluck and the leftovers still in their crockpots were pushed into the walk in cooler. The next day the crock pots were plugged in but due to yet another power failure the food was served lukewarm rather than hot. Everyone who ate got sick, but being good scientists they cultured themselves and published. There are still folks who avoid potlucks even tho the problem was with the leftovers.

      April 14, 2012 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
  24. michelle

    i ate a whole cantaloupe two days ago and i was already sick with a cold but about a couple hours after i ate i had the worst headache and my neck was really stiff feeling and i have still been haveing bad headaches and stiff neck. should i go to the doctor?

    September 29, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Let's see... I guess you went to health class where they said that you could have meningitis, but perhaps your symptoms have clouded your memory. YES, go to a doctor, NOW.

      September 29, 2011 at 18:06 | Report abuse |
  25. katie

    can you get listeria from a salad bar with cantalope ,transferred in other words

    September 29, 2011 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Barbara Poe

    I was on a Rocky Mountain train excursion in Colorado from Sept. 14 through Sept 22. At all the hotels, they served mixed fruit including cantaloupe, watermellon, etc. I ate some of the watermellon which was probably contaminated as it was all stirred together, assuming cantaloupe did carry listeria.

    Is there a blood, urine, etc. test that can determine if you were exposed to listeria?

    September 29, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Joey B.

    Im doing a report on this for school and it seems pretty bad i hope its not as bad as they say it is

    September 29, 2011 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. smoke

    Don't worry about it. Its just the government asserting control through tainting people's food. It causes fear among everyone. Once a few more people die, it will blow over just like the tainted spinach and other cases did.

    October 1, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AJ

      That is one of the most ignorant things I have ever heard. Listereria, Salmonella, E. coli, and the few other microorganisms that ARE contaminating these foods are normal flora of animal intestines in many cases. So, if some animal excrement gets into a field somewhere, only a few organisms are needed to cause a problem. They feed on the rich organic soil and are able to replicate, thereby multiplying in number. With many bacteria, only around 100 of them are needed to cause infection.

      Also, Listeria is not always killed by conventional cooking methods.

      December 8, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
  29. ConcernedTexan

    My mother ate cantaloupe on Sept. 19 and Sept 21, it was brought to her from someone in a box with other fruits, the box that it was in came from Mike Jensen Farms. On Sept 22 she woke up throwing up and feeling very weak. She was a little better on Sept 23, but then a couple of days later she was feeling sick again, not throwing up but feeling very weak and headaches since. I took her to her Doctor and he said that the symptoms were not those of Listeria which he said she would have to have diarrhea, Is that true or should she get a second opinion? She is 74 yrs old and has congestive heart failure, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure just to name a few. She would normally be experiencing pain with her illnesses but she has only been complaining about her weakness, headaches and feeling tired. Any advice please.

    October 1, 2011 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      Take her for a second opinion!

      October 4, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  30. Barb

    When is the majority of the population going to wake up about flu shots or child vaccinations. Go ahead.......get the shot and get yourself the flu......same as the child vaccinations. I am so tired of the medical field lying to the people about what treatments they have for cancer and the fact is............it dont cure it and the shots dont prevent any of the diseases. What does it do........it just pows it right at you. SMARTEN UP.............:)

    October 4, 2011 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. southcarolina

    Ok so what is the difference between organic and conventional grown cantaloupes? We have picked cantaloupes and watermelons for years and when u grow them u normally put them on plastic (not required) to keep the weeds down also u generally fertilize them! Now most growers use nitrogen... Which is chicken poop. In my opinion that is most organic, its the way they fertilized produce years ago and also the cheapest so could listeria have come from that and when u cut a cantaloupe the bacteria would be on the knife causing the inside of the cantaloupe to become infected.

    October 5, 2011 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suely

      Three years ago, in extreme fcinainal desperation, I opened my home to boarders. Specifically, I shared my home with Elizabeth and Klaus, a married couple (well, sort of . . . she kept running away, but would come back). The experiment promised many benefits at first, but then I encountered Elizabeth's neuroses (one by one by one by one) until she and I couldn't stand to be in the same room. She was such a clean freak that she would unpack my bags of recycling containers and scrub each can or bottle with hot water and soap, although I had already rinsed them thoroughly. Then she'd dry the cans and bottles in an ostentatious display of her contempt for my standards. When I once offered to share some soup I'd made, Elizabeth told me that I was so dirty she would not eat any food I'd touched.To answer Dale's question: I have eaten mostly my own cooking for thirty years, and I have yet to make myself sick. After a few months of having boarders in my home I sure wished I could have served Elizabeth something vile enough to confirm her low opinion of me! But not really . . . the lady was an emotional time bomb held together with chewing gum and Post-It notes. The really really nice thing about her is that she's gone.

      April 8, 2012 at 09:36 | Report abuse |
  32. Jaime

    As par our healt department ,we did'nt have listeria in the cantalopes and watermelons that we received from California •

    October 5, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Rita

    How do you know if you have listeria. I have experiencing diarrhea, headaches, and vomiting. How can you tell the difference between a bug or listeria? Had a Ct scan done and blood work, and doctors find nothing. They didn't ask me any questions if I had eaten any cantelope. I've had these symptoms for 3 weeks now, but nausea now, not so much vomiting.

    October 10, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Shay

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.