Killer cantaloupes leave 13 dead in US

WASHINGTON - Cantaloupes grown in the US state of Colorado have been linked to a outbreak of listeria monocytogenes that has killed 13 people and infected dozens more, US health authorities said Tuesday.

The whole cantaloupes were from Jensen farms in the western US state which has recalled its Rocky Ford brand of cantaloupes grown in Granada, Colorado, said the Atlanta, Georgia-based US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To date, deaths have been reported across much of the country in the case: two in Colorado; one in Kansas; one in Maryland; one in Missouri; one in Nebraska, four in New Mexico, one in Oklahoma, and two in Texas, the CDC said in a statement.

They were among the total 72 reported infections in a total of 18 US states, the CDC added.

The illnesses started on or around August 15, the statement added.

Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium, is an agent that causes listeriosis, and is among the most virulent food-borne pathogens.

Some US media, including The New York Times, called the case the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in a decade.

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