The Indiana State Department of Health, along with other federal agencies, are investigating a string of Salmonella cases that are believed to have originated from cantaloupe farms in southwest Indiana.
The outbreak has sickened 14 Hoosiers and about 150 people nationwide. Kentucky has seen 50 confirmed cases.
State health officials are urging everyone to discard cantaloupe that may have been grown in southwest Indiana.
Stepping up to help area residents with their cantaloupe cravings, however, is Old Farm Market, which has locations on 10th Street on the westside of the city, as well as on U.S. 36 in Avon.
Mike Ray, owner of the markets, said their cantaloupe comes from LaPorte, in the northern part of the state, and is therefore safe to consume.
”We have seen a little decrease in (cantaloupe) sales,” Ray said. “All of the cantaloupes that we get are from a USDA inspected LaPorte grower.”
The price may be a little higher than in years past, he said, because the drought conditions experienced across the country mean most produce prices are going up.
”It’s supply and demand,” Ray said. “Only growers with irrigation even have any products.”
The Indiana State Department of Health encourages customers to check with their grocer to see when and where the cantaloupe came from. If they were sent after July 7 and from southwest Indiana, they should discard them. If they were not grown in southwest Indiana, health department officials say they are likely safe to eat.
Most people who are infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours of consumption. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Though most patients recover without treatment, some patients require hospitalization due to severe diarrhea.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said salmonella infections may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and other areas of the body and could cause death if not treated properly.
”Anyone experiencing symptoms and who feels they may have eaten a contaminated cantaloupe should contact their health care provider,” Larkin said. “We are seeing cases in Indiana and our neighbor to the south, Kentucky, has seen many more cases and has experienced two deaths related to this outbreak.”
The Indiana State Department of Health is aided in the investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are also working to trace the source and shipments of contaminated melons.