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posted on May 21, 2014 16:30

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             DATE: May 21, 2014

Tom Shanahan
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0668

North Idaho E. coli Infections Linked to Raw Clover Sprouts

Idaho and Washington public health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli infections in north Idaho and eastern Washington involving seven confirmed and three probable cases. Initial investigation has determined that the outbreak may be related to people eating raw clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho. The sprouts were consumed in sandwiches from restaurants in Idaho and Washington. As the investigation continues, public health officials in both Washington and Idaho are advising against eating raw clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC until further information is known.

Three adult Kootenai County residents and seven people from Washington have become sick with E. coli infections. Nine of the 10 people who became ill reported eating raw clover sprouts in the 10 days prior to becoming ill. Five of those people, including two Idaho residents, were hospitalized. The infection has not caused any deaths.

E. coli is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, often bloody, severe abdominal cramps, vomiting and a low-grade fever. The type of E. coli in this outbreak is a strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC O121) similar to E. coli O157:H7.  Most people recover from their illness in five to seven days, but E. coli can be severe and life-threatening, especially for very young children and the elderly.  Anyone who has recently consumed raw clover sprouts and has diarrhea and severe abdominal cramps should seek medical attention.

Idaho public health officials in the Division of Public Health and Panhandle District Health are continuing to actively work with the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the cause of the illnesses. Raw clover sprouts are sold in restaurants, delis, supermarkets, and specialty food stores throughout Idaho. Public health officials advise people who have raw clover sprouts, either from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts LLC or if the source is unknown, to throw them out.