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Salmonella outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts

Image of alfalfa sprouts CDC

Thirteen people have become ill and five were hospitalized as the result of a salmonella outbreak in at least four states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Government officials say alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas, are likely the source of the outbreak.

No deaths associated with the outbreak have been reported. The affected states include Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

Federal, state and local officials are working to confirm the source. In interviews, many of the people who got sick reported that they ate, or might have eaten, sprouts at restaurants before becoming ill.

During laboratory testing, irrigation water and alfalfa sprout samples from Sweetwater Farms LLC tested positive for salmonella. Though testing is still ongoing, officials say the information available indicates that alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms may be contaminated with salmonella and are not safe to eat.

As a result, Sweetwater Farms issued a voluntary recall of its alfalfa sprouts from lot 042016, the FDA reported.

Consumers are urged not to eat alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms. Restaurants and retailers should not sell these sprouts at this time.

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, typically appearing 12 to 72 hours after the infection. Though the illness usually lasts four to seven days, sometimes the diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized. In these cases, the infection can cause further complications and even death.

Children younger than five, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections.

If you think you may be infected with salmonella, contact your health care provider.