E. coli outbreak in Michigan involving sprouts

(WXYZ) - A public health alert is being issued over sprouts that contain E. coli.

The Michigan departments of Community Health and Agriculture and Rural Development are issuing a public health alert regarding E. coli after several people were treated for infections after they ate raw clover sprouts. 

At this time, MDCH is recommending that people avoid eating raw clover sprouts until further information about the origin of the contaminated sprouts is available.

Michigan currently has two confirmed E. coli cases and five suspect cases. The illness dates range from February 6 – 12, 2012. All seven people reported eating raw sprouts at sandwich shops in mid and southeast Michigan. Of the seven cases, there have been two known hospitalizations. Those affected range in age from 19-50.

MDCH is working closely with local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine the source of the sprouts.

Sprouts are the germinating form of seeds and beans and are frequently eaten raw in sandwiches and salads. Past sprout-related outbreaks of food borne illness have been linked to seeds contaminated by animal manure in the field, during storage, or as a result of poor hygienic practices in the production of sprouts. In addition, the warm and humid conditions required to grow sprouts are ideal for the rapid growth of bacteria.

Anyone who has recently eaten raw sprouts and is experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and their local health department.

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