CDC collaborated with public health officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157) infections. Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that were part of this outbreak. PulseNet, coordinated by CDC, is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories. PulseNet performs DNA fingerprinting on STEC bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks.
Eleven people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157 were reported from two states. The number of ill people identified in each state was as follows: Minnesota (8) and Wisconsin (3). Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 17, 2016 to February 17, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 17 years to 84, with a median age of 28. Of ill people, 73% were female. Two ill people were hospitalized. No one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, and no deaths were reported.
Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory officials indicated that alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts of River Falls, Wisconsin were the likely source of this outbreak. In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the nine ill people who were interviewed, all nine (100%) reported eating or possibly eating alfalfa sprouts in the week before illness started.
On February 25, 2016, Jack & The Green Sprouts, Inc. voluntarily recalled all alfalfa and alfalfa onion sprout products. Sprouts were packaged in a plastic clamshell container with a round, brightly colored label on top that notes the sprout variety.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.