Salmonella found in melon, eight dead and hundreds infected in the US and Canada
Eight people have died in the US and Canada as a result of an outbreak of the disease caused by the salmonella bacteria found in cut melons in ready-to-eat boxes, while at least 96 others have needed hospital treatment.
According to health officials, at least 230 cases of salmonella have been reported in 38 US states, while 129 cases have been recorded in Canada.
Many of those who became ill reported eating cut melons purchased in supermarkets and stores in plastic packaging.
People who have received hospital treatment are mainly the elderly from asylums and care homes, but also children from nurseries and day care centers.
The number of people affected by the outbreak is likely higher than reported, as it usually takes three to four weeks to determine whether a sick person is part of the same wave of cases.
Six companies have issued recall notices for products containing cantaloupe, including fruit bowl mixes.
"People should not buy, eat or serve cantaloupe unless they know where it came from," said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Canada.
Salmonella causes stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. It can cause serious illness in young children, people older than 65, and those with weakened immune systems.