The death of a Sheridan County woman is being investigated as a case of Listerosis, but Wyoming Department of Health officials say they haven't determined yet if her death is related to the recent Listeria outbreak linked to Colorado-grown cantaloupe.
As many as 10 have died and more than 60 have been reported ill nationwide in connection with the outbreak, according to AP reports.
Wyoming Department of Health public information officer Kim Deti says that two nonfatal cases in Laramie County in Wyoming have been linked to the outbreak, but they are still investigating the recent death in Sheridan County.
Information has not been released regarding where exactly in Sheridan County the woman was from and when she died.
A little more than a week ago, the outbreak was traced to “Rocky Ford” cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Granada, Colo.; Deti added that it was also linked to a processor in Kansas in the last couple of days. There was a full recall of the fruit last week.
She says that people should use caution if they aren't sure if a particular fruit is safe.
According to a release from the Wyoming Department of Health, the affected cantaloupes may not have stickers on them, but they are packed in cartons labeled Frontera Produce, http://www.fronteraproduce.com or with Frontera Produce, Rocky Ford Cantaloupes. The release also said that cartons read: "Grown and packed by Jensen Farms Granada, CO and Shipped by Produce LTD, Edinburg, Texas."
Deti said that Listeria is a rare bacteria that is more commonly found in soft cheeses and processed meats than it is in fruits. In fact, this is the first large outbreak of Listeria resulting from fruit, Deti said.
AP reports say that anyone who may be concerned that they contacted bad cantaloupe should wash counter-tops and refrigerators with bleach. Deti said that Listerosis can take up to two months after contact with the bacteria to show signs of the illness.
Those at higher risk include older adults, those with weaker immune systems or certain chronic medical conditions, unborn babies and newborns. Deti added that pregnant women should be particularly cautious when dealing with the possibility of encountering the bacteria.
More information can be found at www.health.wyo.gov.
Further information on the death of the woman from Sheridan County is pending upon the Department of Health's investigation into possible connection with the outbreak.