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IDPH Investigates Iowa Salmonella Outbreak

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03/03/2009 03:16 PM
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IDPH Investigates Iowa Salmonella Outbreak
[link to www.kcci.com]

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of salmonella cases across the state.

Officials said so far that five cases have been linked to the Salmonella St. Paul outbreak and another four cases may be added to the list.

Polly Carver-Kimm, IDPH Public Information Officer, said that the Iowa cases are spread out across the state in the western, central and eastern portions of Iowa -- not just in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area.

Fourteen people have been sickened in Douglas County, Neb., and another eight to 10 people may be linked to the outbreak, KETV.com reported.

The Source?

The cases are believed to be linked to alfalfa sprouts. KETV.com reports that the sprouts may have been distributed by CW Sprouts of Omaha.

Nebraska health officials said the sprouts were marketed as Sun Sprouts and went to restaurants and grocery stores. Officials said the company has voluntarily recalled the sprouts.

IDPH officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Nebraska to investigate the cases. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating how conditions at the Omaha company may have led to the contamination.

'Throw Away Alfalfa Sprouts'

Until the source of contamination is confirmed, IDPH recommends that Iowans either throw the alfalfa sprouts they currently have away, or put them in a place where they won't be eaten until more information is available.

Officials said the new cases are not connected to the recent peanut butter-related Salmonella outbreak.


Symptoms of an infection of salmonella bacteria include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps that develop 12-72 hours after exposure. The illness can be especially tough to fight for the very young, the elderly, pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.

Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal, officials said.

The risk far outweighs any benefit as the risk will vary from child to child.