How you can protect yourself from food borne illness

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed one person from Arkansas is sick due to the recent listeria outbreak in cantaloupe.

The cantaloupe listeria outbreak has caused 72 illnesses, including 16 deaths.

In the past two days, two farms in California announced recalls for romaine lettuce and organic grape tomatoes due to possible contamination of listeria and salmonella.

St. Bernard's Medical center doctor Shane Speights said listeria is a common bacteria found in nature. "It is commonly found in the soil.  Animals can have it," he said.  "It's not common to be infected with bacteria."

About 1,600 cases of listeriosis occur in the United States every year.  The last notable outbreak was in 2002.  Speights said the infection can be serious, but only for certain groups.  "There are high risk populations for listeria, such as children, infants, pregnant women and elderly patients that have other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease."

The symptoms of the infection are similar to that of the flu.  Listeria can be treated with antibiotics.

For more information about listeria, click here.

For a list of FDA recalls, click here.

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