2 dead, 50 ill in Kentucky with Salmonella from Indiana cantaloupes; multi-state outbreak unfolding

A strain of salmonella associated with two deaths and 50 illnesses in Kentucky since early July has been found in cantaloupes tested by the state, public health officials said Friday.

Acting Public Health Commissioner Steve Davis issued a statement Friday advising Kentuckians to avoid eating cantaloupes that were grown in southwestern Indiana.

“In addition, health care providers are encouraged to be mindful of patients who may have symptoms consistent with salmonellosis and report all cases to the local health department,” Davis said.

Illnesses have occurred statewide and many counties have people who have been sickened, including some in Central and Eastern Kentucky, said Beth Fisher, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Cases are most concentrated around Owensboro and in far Western Kentucky, where both deaths occurred, Fisher said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is collaborating with public health officials in affected states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the ongoing outbreak, including tracing the source of the affected melons and shipments of melons that may have been contaminated.

A table of cantaloupe-related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/cantaloupe-related-outbreaks.