Health Officials Issue Alfalfa Sprouts Advisory

Health Officials Issue Alfalfa Sprouts Advisory

THD news release

August 26, 2005

Tulsa City-County Health Department

Melanie Christian, Community Relations Manager

5051 S. 129th East Ave. Tulsa, OK 74134


(Tulsa, OK) – Health officials today issued an advisory to the public about the risk of eating alfalfa sprouts after a local individual was hospitalized with an e. coli infection suspected to have come from eating alfalfa sprouts.

E. coli infection occurs most commonly from eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. Other known sources of infection include consumption of sprouts, lettuce, salami, unpasteurized milk and juice, and swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water. Bacteria in stools of infected persons can be passed from one person to another if hygiene or handwashing habits are inadequate.

E. coli infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and occasionally kidney failure. Most persons recover without antibiotics or other specific treatment in 5-10 days, however, children under 5 years of age, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for more serious complications.

Consumers can prevent e. coli infection by:

• Thoroughly cooking ground beef

• Avoiding unpasteurized milk and other high risk foods such as sprouts, lettuce, and salami

• Washing hands thoroughly