A specimen from the melon at issue. (Photo by Richard North.)

An outbreak of food poisoning across the state of Kentucky has been linked to cantaloupes from a farm in Indiana.

The salmonellosis outbreak, which has sickened at least 50 Kentuckians and been associated with two deaths, began in early July. Through an epidemiological investigation and confirmatory lab testing, Kentucky public health officials determined that cantaloupes, which evidence indicates were grown in southwestern Indiana but purchased in Kentucky, carried the same strain of Salmonella determined to be the cause of an ongoing outbreak of infection. Salmonellosis cases caused by the outbreak strain have also been reported in other states. In addition, investigation is also continuing into other clusters of salmonella cases in Kentucky, which may be linked to cantaloupe or watermelon consumption.

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Kentucky saw 137 reports of Salmonella in July — twice the norm for the state.

Cantaloupe were also the culprit behind last year’s deadly listeria outbreak that was eventually traced back to Jensen Farms in Colorado. Beyond the vague “a farm in southwestern Indiana,” the source of this outbreak is unclear.

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In the interim, wash your cantaloupe and other melons thoroughly before cutting them open, Kentuckians. And the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services also recommends handwashing after playing with pets — particularly, I assume, if those pets are from southwestern Indiana.

Important note: It’s not in the report, but experts have also found this to be sickening: