During the first week of 2023, FDA continues to investigate three foodborne illness outbreaks originally reported in 2022.
A recent outbreak has sickened people in three states and, according to the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can be traced to fresh raw alfalfa sprouts. FDA traces salmonella outbreak to sprouts at SunSprout Enterprises in Nebraska.
There is concern that some consumers may still have unused portions of the associated sprouts at home as they have a shelf life of until January. 7.
SunSprout Enterprises Recall ordered four lots — 4211, 5211, 3212 and 4212 — of raw alfalfa sprouts in 4-ounce clamshell and 2.5-pound packages with use-by dates of December 10, 2022 and January 7, 2023. According to the FDA, an investigation is ongoing to determine how this alfalfa product was handled and stored after it left the Nebraska production facility.
As of the latest patient count update, released on December 30, 15 people from three states have been infected. Nebraska has 8, South Dakota has 6 and Oklahoma has 1. Two patients have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported yet.
Of the 12 patients interviewed by public health officials so far, all reported eating sprouts in the days before becoming ill.
Patients ranged in age from 19 to 78 years, with a median age of 39 years. 67% of patients were female.
State health investigators and FDA are conducting traceability of the sprouts as well as on-site inspections and sample collection and analysis.
Whole-genome sequencing has shown that bacteria in patient samples are genetically closely related. This suggests that people in this outbreak became ill from eating the same food.
Additional patients may be identified.
“The true number of people sick in this outbreak is likely to be much higher than reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to states with known disease. “In addition, recent illnesses may not have been reported because it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine whether a sick person is part of an outbreak,” according to the CDC.
Anyone who has eaten sprouts and is urged to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of salmonella.
Food contaminated with salmonella usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can get sick from salmonella. According to the CDC, infants, children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness because their immune systems are weakened.
Anyone who develops symptoms of salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Patients should tell their doctor about possible salmonella exposure because special tests are required to diagnose salmonellosis. Symptoms of salmonella infection can mimic other diseases, often leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. Otherwise, a healthy adult will usually be sick for 4 to 7 days. However, in some cases, diarrhea can 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 serious illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.
Some people are infected without being sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infection to others.
Other ongoing outbreak investigations
FDA is continuing to investigate together An outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium infection of unknown origin sickened 274 people. The outbreak has been declared over, but investigators continue to work. They have initiated traceability efforts and sample testing, but the agency has yet to report which foods are being traced and tested. The FDA has not reported where the victims of the outbreak lived.
The third outbreak investigation is currently ongoing. It is about Listeria monocytogenes and Flammulina velutipes infections. Two people each fell ill and were hospitalized in Nevada and Michigan. The FDA and CDC are trying to identify the brand of enoki mushrooms involved. There have been multiple recalls of Flammulina velutipes this year due to Listeria contamination.