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Death toll in listeriosis outbreak now at 21

A total of 21 people nationwide have now died in the listeriosis outbreak linked to cantaloupes from a Colorado farm, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

In all, 109 people in 23 states have become sick from the outbreak, and that number could continue to climb, the CDC said.

There have been five deaths each in Colorado and New Mexico, two each in Kansas and Texas and one each in Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Indiana is the latest addition to the list. One woman pregnant at the time of illness also had a miscarriage, CDC said.

The outbreak is now one of deadliest in the USA. The deadliest known was in 1985 when a Mexican-style soft cheese contaminated with listeria from Jalisco Products killed 18 adults and 10 newborns, as well as causing 20 miscarriages, according to CDC. It sickened 142 others.

The outbreak has been linked to Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes sold by Jensen Farms near Holly, Colo. The cantaloupes were recalled Sept. 14, and no melons under the recall should still be on store shelves. Most of the contaminated melons should be out of the food supply by now. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said any cantaloupes not from Jensen Farms are safe to eat.

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