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UK Salmonella Sprout Outbreak Has Sickened 218

Food safety officials in the United Kingdom are not yet seeing the end of the outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly that has been linked to contaminated bean sprouts.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA), the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Health Protection Scotland, and local environmental health officers say the outbreak is continuing.

HPA’s Center for Infections (CFI) in Collindale reports the number of confirmed S. Bareilly cases in England since the beginning of August at 190.  In addition there are five cases in Wales, and two in Northern Ireland.   Health Protection Scotland confirms 21 cases during the same period.

Normally, fewer than 10 cases would be experienced in a month.

Dr. Joe Kearney, a director with Local and Regional Services Division, is chairing an outbreak control team comprising representatives from HPA, the FSA, Health Protection Scotland and Environmental Health Officers from a number of local authorities. 

 “As the outbreak continues, it is important for caterers and people who buy bean sprouts to eat at home to ensure that these products are properly prepared and cooked until they are piping hot unless they are clearly labeled as ready-to-eat,” Dr. Kearney said.

People who prepare meals in catering establishments and in the home should keep raw bean sprouts separate from other salad products, including ready-to-eat bean sprouts, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination, he said.  

The FSA advice on the safe preparation of bean sprouts may be accessed at http://www.food.gov.uk/.

Information on Salmonella is available on the Health Protection Agency’s website.

Specialists in the CFI’s Salmonella Reference Unit previously reported that the strain of Salmonella Bareilly isolated from a bean sprout sample is indistinguishable from the strain of S. Bareilly isolated from human stool cultures.

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