On Friday, Michigan was thrown into the multi-state mix (Wisconsin, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri) of states with illnesses in the most recent Jimmy Johns sprouts outbreak. The announcement was the there were 2 Michigan residents whose illnesses were confirmed E. coli O26, matching the Jimmy Johns outbreak strain, with another 5 “suspect” cases.
Three of the five “suspect” E. coli cases in Michigan were reported in Oakland County, according to the Oakland County Health Department. Epidemiologist Shane Bies said all three people tested positive for E. coli, and all three recently ate raw sprouts. “Raw sprouts have been known to be sources of E. coli, and salmonella as well,” said Bies, pointing out that the sprouts are not cooked, and washing them does not always get rid of bacteria. He said all three people ate at Jimmy John’s sandwich shops. Bies said the Oakland County cases have not yet been confirmed to be the O26 strain.
Two of the seven likely cases in Michigan were hospitalized. The counties where illnesses were reported are Kent, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne. These are not necessarily where all the sick people live, just where they were treated and tested positive for E. coli, triggering an obligation by the doctors or labs that generated the positive results to report that to the local health department.