Listeria outbreaks in produce are rare, deadly

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- An outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe that has killed as many as four people is a mystery to disease specialists who are used to seeing the pathogen in deli meats and soft cheeses.

About 800 cases of listeria are found in the United States each year, but those cases are rarely from produce. It can be fatal for one in five who fall ill.

The contaminated melons were whole fruit from Jensen Farms in the Rocky Ford region of Colorado and have been recalled. Twenty-two people have so far been sickened in seven states. Two deaths have been confirmed by CDC, one each in Colorado and New Mexico, and two more in New Mexico are under investigation.