The Kansas Department of health and Environment is reporting that a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened eight people in two states is associated with sprouts grown at Sweetwater Farms in Inman, Kansas. Five people in Kansas and three people in Oklahoma are sick.
The KDHE, the FDA, the CDC, the Oklahoma Department of Health, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture have been working together on this outbreak. The last date of illness onset was in late January in a man from Kansas. Three Oklahoma cases have been matched to the outbreak strain of Salmonella. Public health officials have inspected Sweetwater Farms and found samples of irrigation water and products that have tested positive for Salmonella, although the exact strain of the pathogenic bacteria has not been identified. Lab results are pending.
Sweetwater Farms is voluntarily recalling sprouts with lot number 042016. The company has not said what type of sprout is associated with this outbreak, although the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is recommending that consumers do not consume any sprout product from Sweetwater Farms at this time. And the CDC and FDA recommend that anyone in a high risk group, including pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems and chronic health problems, never eat raw sprouts even if they are not recalled.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms usually appear twelve to seventy-two hours after exposure to the bacteria. Most people are sick for four to seven days, and most people recover without medical treatment. But some people become so ill they must be hospitalized.
Cooking kills Salmonella bacteria, but they cannot be rinsed off sprouts because the bacteria may be on the inside. Freezing does not kill the bacteria.
If you ate raw sprouts from Sweetwater Farms and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor. Even if you do recover without treatment, the long term effects of a Salmonella infection can be serious, including Reiter’s Syndrome, which can cause reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome.