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Cantaloupe illnesses expected to rise

Federal health officials say an outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe is expected to cause more illnesses and may lead to more deaths in coming weeks, but the bacteria so far hasn't been traced to New York City or Long Island.

The outbreak has caused at least 72 illnesses, including as many as 16 deaths, in 18 states. There have been no reports of illnesses in New York.

The heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that consumers who have cantaloupes produced by Jensen Farms in Colorado should throw them out. If they are not sure where the fruit is from, they shouldn't eat it.

The government has not supplied a list of retailers who may have sold the fruit. Officials say consumers should ask retailers about the origins of their cantaloupe.

Jensen Farms says it shipped cantaloupes to 25 states.

None of the tainted cantaloupes went to Long Island grocery stores, state health officials said.

The only New York shipment from Jensen Farms went to the Buffalo area, officials said. The state has issued a recall of those cantaloupes, sold between July 29 and Sept. 10.

Health providers statewide have been alerted to the outbreak "strictly as a precaution," said Jeffrey Hammond, spokesperson for the state Health Department.

Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of illness should contact their physician, Hammond said.

With Candice Ferrette

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