Health Department Warns of Cantaloupe Contaminated with Salmonella

For Immediate Release: March 24, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON - The Vermont Department of Health is warning consumers not to eat certain cantaloupes imported from Honduras, which are suspected to be the source of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield infections. The alert issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies cantaloupes that were imported from Honduran grower and packer Agropecuaria Montelibano.

To date, no illnesses have been reported in Vermont, but cases have been reported in 16 other states, including New York. Nationwide, at least 50 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No deaths have been reported, and no illness has been linked to cantaloupes from other sources.

Anyone with Honduran cantaloupe in their home should dispose of the fruit immediately. Consumers can check with the place of purchase to determine if the fruit came from this Honduran grower and packer.

Symptoms of illness caused by eating food contaminated with salmonella include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections for people with weakened immune systems or other underlying health conditions.

"Vermonters who think they may be ill from eating the suspected fruit should contact their doctor immediately and notify the Health Department," said Cort Lohff, MD, state epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health.

Illness should be reported to the Health Department at 802-863-7240 or 800-640-4374 (toll free in Vermont only).

Consumers can take the following steps to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella or other foodborne illnesses from cantaloupes:

For more information about this Salmonella outbreak visit the following websites:

Additional information about Salmonella is available at the Vermont Department of Health online Salmonella Fact Sheet.

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