News Release (Minnesota Department of Health & Minnesota Department of Agriculture)
August 17, 2012
Contact information

Three Salmonella cases in Minnesota linked to multistate outbreak due to cantaloupe

Consumers advised to avoid eating cantaloupe grown in Southwestern Indiana

Illnesses in at least three people in Minnesota are part of an ongoing multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections associated with cantaloupe likely from southwestern Indiana, state health officials said today.

Two cantaloupes collected by the Kentucky Department for Public Health have tested positive for Salmonella Typhimurium of the outbreak strain. In their press release, Kentucky officials did not name the source of the contaminated cantaloupe. However, one farm in southwestern Indiana has initiated a voluntary market withdrawal and has stopped harvest of cantaloupes following notification by state officials that cantaloupes grown on the farm tested positive for the same type of Salmonella causing illness in Minnesota and several other states.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) determined that there have been three cases in Minnesota of infection with Salmonella Typhimurium of the outbreak strain. All three individuals reported eating cantaloupe during the week prior to becoming ill between July 18 and 26. Two of the cases were over 70 years of age and one was a child. Two of the cases live in the Twin Cities metro area, and one in Greater Minnesota. None of the cases were hospitalized and all have recovered.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is working with other states and FDA to identify the distribution of these cantaloupes in Minnesota. When more information becomes available, MDA will provide on its website (www.mda.state.mn.us) a list of Minnesota retail outlets that received the recalled cantaloupes. Until that specific distribution list is available, consumers should not eat cantaloupe from southwestern Indiana. The region of origin for cantaloupes is often provided on a sticker placed on the fruit. If no sticker is present, consumers should contact the store where they purchased the fruit to ask about the source. Based on the available information, consumers can continue to purchase and eat cantaloupes not originating from southwestern Indiana.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is coordinating the ongoing multistate investigation with affected states and the Food and Drug Administration, including additional tracing of the source of the affected cantaloupe and determining where affected cantaloupe were sold.

Salmonella
is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Anyone who believes they may have become ill with Salmonella should contact their health care provider.

Approximately 575 to 700 cases of salmonellosis are reported each year in Minnesota. More information on Salmonella and how to prevent it can be found on the MDH website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/salmonellosis/index.html.

-MDH-


For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993

Joshua Rounds
MDH Foodborne Diseases
651-201-5414

Michael Schommer
MDA Communications Office
651-201-6629