Listeria contained in a now-recalled crop of cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, in Colorado, has killed 18 people, infected almost 100 in 20 states, and led to an Iowa woman’s miscarriage, according to state health officials.
The woman suffered the miscarriage a few weeks after eating the tainted melon, said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s medical examiner.
The cantaloupes were recalled Sept. 14; however, those who ate them can develop listeria infections up to two months later.
Pregnant women especially are vulnerable to food-poisoning infections because their immunity is compromised in order for their bodies not to reject the fetus, said Dr. Adam Borgida, of Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn.
In the case of the Iowa women, the infection occurred early in her pregnancy. If the infection occurs further along, it can result in a stillbirth or a serious illness if the child survives, Borgida said.
“These babies are very sick,” he told MSNBC. “Many can’t survive that.”
The woman’s identity was not released in order to protect her privacy.
The Iowa case is one of three reported infections in pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control.