Listeria Outbreak: Iowa Woman Miscarriage Result of Contaminated Cantaloupe

A pregnant Iowa woman suffered a miscarriage after contracting listeriosis, a serious infection linked to contaminated cantaloupes, said Iowa health officials Wednesday.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the woman is an adult between the ages of 18 and 40 living in Northwest Iowa. She was in the early stages of her pregnancy when she came down with symptoms after eating a tainted cantaloupe.

She has since recovered, but miscarried as a result of contracting the disease. The IDPH said the woman would remain unidentified.

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Her infection was a strain of listeria monocytogenes, which matched the strain detected in recalled cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado – where the listeria outbreak originated.

Nationwide, this is the third known case involving a pregnant woman. However, this is Iowa’s first case of listeria outbreak.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 17 percent of listeriosis cases occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get the bacterial infection the CDC stated.

"Pregnant women are much more susceptible to having symptoms and becoming severely ill from listeria," said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, IDPH Medical Director, according to ABC News.

"Once they have the infection, the complications can be quite serious,” Quinlisk added.

As of Monday morning, listeria infections from four outbreak strains linked to recalled cantaloupes from Jensen Farms have sickened at least 100 people and led to 18 deaths in 20 states, according to the CDC.

"While Jensen Farms has issued a voluntary recall of its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes, and the recalled items should be off store shelves, more illness may be reported because it can take up to two months for a person to develop listeriosis after eating contaminated food," Quinlisk said in a press release Wednesday.

Last week, federal health officials said the outbreak is the deadliest food borne disease in more than a decade.

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