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Update: Amid salmonella outbreak, consumers should avoid unknown brands of cantaloupe

Amid salmonella outbreak, consumers should avoid unknown brands of cantaloupe

As the Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes continues to widen, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges consumers to avoid any precut versions of the fruit if the brand is unknown.

Eighteen more illnesses have been reported since Nov. 24, the CDC said in an updated health alert, and the list of stores that sold recalled products has grown. Since the outbreak was first reported on Nov. 14, at least two deaths, 117 illnesses, and 61 hospitalizations in 34 states have been linked to contaminated cantaloupes, according to the CDC.

The true number of illnesses is likely far higher, the agency noted, because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. More recent illnesses may also not yet be reported.

Still, "interviews with and laboratory findings continue to show that cantaloupes are making people in this outbreak sick," the agency said. "[The] CDC is concerned about this outbreak because illnesses are severe with more than half hospitalized, and people in and childcare centers have gotten sick."

The CDC also said the recall now includes precut cantaloupe sold at major grocery stores, including Kroger, Trader Joe's, and Sprouts Farmers Market. Consumers should also refrain from buying precut cantaloupe sold at Aldi, Kwik Trip, Freshness Guaranteed, RaceTrac, Vinyard, and Bix Produce, the agency added. Meanwhile, should continue to stay away from whole cantaloupes sold under the brands Malichita or Rudy.

The CDC has advised people to either throw away recalled fruit or return it to the store for a refund, and afterwards, wash anything that has touched the recalled fruit.

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