What Is Listeria? Good Question.

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Health officials are calling it the deadliest listeria outbreak in decades. Contaminated cantaloupe found at a Colorado farm is to blame for 16 deaths, but experts believe the number could grow.

The cantaloupe concern is prompting questions from KAKEland viewers.

What is listeria?

Listeria is a bacteria that thrives in soil and water. It is often found in meat and dairy products, but fruits and vegetables can be contaminated.

What are the symptoms?

A person who has been infected with the bacteria can expect fever, muscle aches and stomach problems. The elderly, pregnant women and people with poor immune systems are at the greatest risk. Symptoms may not be noticeable for several days. Doctors said it can take up to four weeks to recover from the illness.

How can I protect myself and my family?

The Centers For Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration recommend consumers should throw away all cantaloupes from Jensen Farms. Food experts suggest washing and scrubbing vegetables before eating.

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