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Dallas County Reports 1st Death From Listeria Infection

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A Dallas County man, who got sick after eating contaminated cantaloupe and contracting listeria, has died.

In all, there have been four people sickened with listeria in Dallas County, but this is the first death.

According to Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson, the man who died was 89-years-old and had been hospitalized after becoming ill.

“What we’re seeing is, in listeria, is that individuals who eat these contaminated cantaloupes will either get nauseated or develop muscle aches and therefore can cause an individual to get very ill or die,” he said.

The contaminated melons were grown between July 29 and September 10 and distributed to 17 states, including Texas.

Thompson suggests any consumer with a cantaloupe in their home check with the place where it was purchased to find out if it came from Jensen Farms of Holly, Colorado; the producer linked to the outbreak.

Dallas-area retailers received shipments of the now recalled cantaloupes within the last month. The fruit may have a Sweet Rocky Fords label attached, but some of the contaminated cantaloupes were unlabeled.

“Ask the produce manager or the store manager where did they get the cantaloupes from,” suggested Thompson. “Right now, there should not be any cantaloupes from this Jensen Farms in Dallas County.”

The listeria monocytogenes bacterium can cause severe illness and health experts say it can take up to two months before someone who consumed listeria-contaminated food comes down with the infection.

Because listeria bacteria can grow at room temperature and in the refrigerator, it is important that anyone concerned about contaminated sanitize countertops and vegetable drawers where the fruit may have been stored.

Zachary Thompson of the Dallas Co. Health Department on 1080 KRLD

Any person who develops symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, accompanied by fever, and who may have ingested cantaloupe from Jensen Farms should seek medical attention.

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