Sprouts suspected in multistate Salmonella outbreak

Dec 23, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Federal officials announced today they are collaborating on an investigation into a multistate Salmonella serotype I 4,[5],12:i:-  outbreak, possibly linked to sprouts served on sandwiches at Jimmy Johns restaurants, that have sickened 89 people in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

The first cases surfaced in Illinois, where state officials announced last week that they were investigating illnesses involving the same outbreak strain in people from 11 of the state's counties, plus one patient from Wisconsin. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that 50 of the patients are from Illinois.

Other cases are from Missouri (14), Indiana (9), Wisconsin (3), and Pennsylvania (2). Locations with one case so far include Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Illness onsets, available for 81 of the patients, range from Nov 1 through Dec 14. The median age is 28, and 69% of the cases are in females. About 23% of the patients were hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

The CDC said the Salmonella serotype involved in the outbreak commonly occurs in the United States, and some cases might not be related to the outbreak.

The CDC said preliminary findings from interviews with sick patients suggest a link to eating sprouts at a national sandwich chain. It said federal, state, and local public health departments are continuing surveillance for new cases and are tracing potentially contaminated products.

In other developments, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday released an inspection report on Sally Jackson Cheese, an Oroville, Wash., company that was recently linked to eight Escherichia coli O157:H7 cases. The report contains 12 observations that cover a host of sanitary and facility problems.

For example, FDA inspectors said hand washing facilities were inadequate or not available, and they observed the owner caring for and milking the animals, then working in the cheese-making areas with unwashed hands and soiled clothing.

In October tests found that the well water supplying the facility failed a total coliform test. Inspectors also found that employees did not wear protective equipment to prevent food contamination and that the production area did not lend itself to proper cleaning.

See also:

Dec 23 CDC Salmonella a outbreak notice

Illinois Department of Public Health Salmonella outbreak update

Dec 22 FDA 483 inspection report

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