Salmonella outbreak in 9 states, including Colorado, linked to alfalfa sprouts

(Photo: Thinkstock)

(Photo: Thinkstock)

An outbreak of salmonella probably caused by alfalfa sprouts has infected 30 people in nine states, including Colorado, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. Five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

States where illnesses have occurred are Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning, which usually develop within 12 to 72 hours, include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

Evidence indicated the likely source of the outbreak was alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have begun an investigation.

On Friday, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled products sold in 5-pound boxes and labeled “Living Alfalfa Sprouts” due to possible contamination. The CDC recommended that consumers, restaurants and other retailers do not eat, sell or serve sprouts from this company.

“Illnesses that occurred after July 12, 2016, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks,” the CDC said.

Earlier this year, an outbreak of salmonella in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania was believed to have been caused by alfalfa sprouts sold by an unrelated company.

In the current outbreak, illnesses began about May 21, with sufferers ranging in age from less than 1 year old to 72. Most patients reported eating or possibly eating alfalfa sprouts in the week before symptoms started. Some said they ate raw sprouts on sandwiches from various restaurants, all supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire.

Most people recover from a salmonella infection without treatment after four to seven days. However, for some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is necessary. In rare cases, an infection can lead to death unless a patient receives prompt treatment with antibiotics.