Nebraska officials are urging the public to avoid eating alfalfa sprouts after at least a dozen people have been confirmed sick in an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium.

The sick people reported eating the alfalfa sprouts in the first half of this month, from Dec. 4 to 15, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The sick people ate sprouts at restaurants or at home after buying them at local grocery stores.

At this point, it is known the sick people live in three counties in Eastern Nebraska. Local health officials assisting the state with the outbreak investigation are the Douglas County Health Department, Sarpy/Cass Health Department, and Three Rivers Public Health Department.  

The state health department is asking that anyone who ate sprouts and became ill contact their local health immediately even if they are not still sick. Local health departments can be found here

People who currently have symptoms of infection should call their doctors for medical attention.

About Salmonella infection
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any alfalfa sprouts and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop severe illnesses and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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