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Fresh sprouts from Denver linked to 9-state outbreak

At least 30 people across nine states have fallen ill in an outbreak of Salmonella infections traced to “Living Alfalfa Sprouts” supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver.

A number of the victims reported eating fresh sprouts at several different restaurants before becoming ill, according to the Friday afternoon outbreak announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sprouts Extraordinaire“Five ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported,” the CDC reported. “Epidemiologic and traceback evidence available at this time indicate that alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver are the likely source of this outbreak.”

The 30 confirmed victims are infected with strains of Salmonella Reading or Salmonella Abony. Traceback investigation as of Friday showed several victims had eaten fresh sprouts on sandwiches from restaurants supplied by the Sprouts Extraordinaire company.

“Federal, state and local health and regulatory officials performed a traceback investigation from five restaurants where ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts. This investigation indicated that Sprouts Extraordinaire supplied alfalfa sprouts to all five of these locations,” according to the CDC.

The CDC reported the Denver-based sprout grower had initiated a recall, but no such notice had been posted from the company on the Food and Drug Administration website as of 6 p.m. EDT Friday.

The recalled alfalfa sprouts were sold in 5-pound boxes and labeled “Living Alfalfa Sprouts,” according to the CDC.

No other identifying information for the sprouts was provided in the CDC outbreak notice. However, the agency did recommend that retailers should not sell or serve the sprouts, suggesting some may have shipped to grocery stores for repackaging or use with in-store delis.

The CDC did not have information on distribution patterns or dates.

Illnesses onset dates for the outbreak victims range from May 21 to July 20. Illnesses that occurred after July 12 might not yet be reported because of the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is confirmed and reported by local and state officials. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks.

Victims of the ongoing outbreak range in age from less than 1 year to 72, with a median age of 30. Fifty-three percent of ill people are female.

Federal, state, and local health and regulatory officials performed a traceback investigation from five restaurants where ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts. This investigation indicated that Sprouts Extraordinaire supplied alfalfa sprouts to all five of these locations.

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