State health officials have traced a strain of salmonella that’s affected many people in western Kentucky to Indiana-grown cantaloupes. State laboratory tests found a match between the strain and melons grown in southwestern Indiana and sold in Kentucky grocery stores.
State epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh notes these are only early lab results.
“We’ve been working with Indiana, and with FDA and CDC to do some trace-backs. Preliminary evidence now indicates that they did come from that region. But we’re still investigating that," Humbaugh said.
Around 50 Kentucky cases have been reported. Cases have popped up statewide, but this strain, called salmonellosis, is clustered in the Pennyrile and Green River development districts. Humbaugh says at least two deaths have occurred, one in the Pennyrile district and one in the Green River district.
“Now I can’t say that this has directly contributed to their deaths. Their physician would have to say that. But at the time of the death, they had been diagnosed with this particular strain of salmonella," he said.
Other states, including Tennessee have seen salmonellosis outbreaks linked to melons from the same region.
No Kentucky melons have been linked with the outbreak. Humbaugh says anyone with symptoms of salmonella, such as stomach cramps and diarrhea, should contact a doctor.