For Immediate Release
March 6, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Kansas Identifies 5 Cases Linked to Regional Salmonella Outbreak

As of March 6, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has identified five cases that are linked to a regional outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul bacterial infections.  There is one additional confirmed case of Salmonella Saintpaul and testing results to determine whether that case is linked are pending. Kansas is currently one of five states affected by the outbreak.  All of the Kansas cases are in the northeast part of the state.

A possible link has been identified with sprouts from SunSprout Enterprises, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska but laboratory testing has yet to confirm sprouts as the source.  As a precautionary measure, the company has voluntarily recalled its alfalfa, onion and gourmet sprouts.  These cases are not connected to the recent peanut butter-related Salmonella cases.

KDHE is coordinating with the Kansas Department of Agriculture as well as local health departments regarding the outbreak investigation. 

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.  Anyone who is ill and may have eaten the sprouts should see their physician.

Every year, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonellosis (Salmonella infection) are reported in the United States. Because many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may be thirty or more times greater. Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than winter.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/salmonella/.