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Salmonella cantaloupe toll rises to 270

At least 270 people in 26 states have been sickened now by two strains of salmonella tied to cantaloupes recalled by an Indiana grower, federal health officials said Thursday.

At least 101 people have been hospitalized during the outbreak. Three deaths have been reported in Kentucky, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

At least 240 people have been infected with salmonella Typhimurium and 30 have been sickened by salmonella Newport.

The outbreak has been blamed on contaminated cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Ind., which was identified as one source of the problem. The company recalled its entire crop of cantaloupes on Aug. 22. Health officials are continuing to investigate whether there were other sources as well.

Illnesses have been reported from July 6 to Aug. 30, the CDC said. Victims range in age from less than 1 to 100 years, with a median age of 49. Illnesses that occurred after Aug. 20 might not yet be logged because of lags in reporting.

Most of the illnesses have been reported in Kentucky, where 70 people were sickened. Another 26 were reported ill in Illinois, with 24 sick in Indiana, 16 in Alabama and 15 in Missouri, officials said.

Chamberlain Farms also recalled its watermelons this week after inspectors detected a different strain of salmonella on the fruit.

Indiana state health officials collected and tested samples of the firm’s watermelon, which revealed an additional strain of salmonella Newport. That strain is the same as that found in a cluster of 25 infections in eight states currently being investigated by state and federal officials.

No link has been established yet between the fruit and those illnesses, the CDC said.  

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