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Outbreaks Associated with Cantaloupe, Watermelon, and Honeydew in the United States, 1973–2011
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Details:
  • Alternative Title:
    Foodborne Pathog Dis
  • Description:
    Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Melons have been associated with enteric infections. We reviewed outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System during 1973-2011 in which the implicated food was a single melon type. We also reviewed published literature and records obtained from investigating agencies. During 1973-2011, 34 outbreaks caused by a single melon type were reported, resulting in 3602 illnesses, 322 hospitalizations, 46 deaths, and 3 fetal losses. Cantaloupes accounted for 19 outbreaks (56%), followed by watermelons (13, 38%) and honeydew (2, 6%). Melon-associated outbreaks increased from 0.5 outbreaks per year during 1973-1991 to 1.3 during 1992-2011. Salmonella was the most common etiology reported (19, 56%), followed by norovirus (5, 15%). Among 13 outbreaks with information available, melons imported from Mexico and Central America were implicated in 9 outbreaks (69%) and domestically grown melons were implicated in 4 outbreaks (31%). The point of contamination was known for 20 outbreaks; contamination occurred most commonly during growth, harvesting, processing, or packaging (13, 65%). Preventive measures focused on reducing bacterial contamination of melons both domestically and internationally could decrease the number and severity of melon-associated outbreaks.

  • Pubmed ID:
    25407556
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4627691
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