Here are the highlights of an update just posted from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the sprout-caused Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak that has impacted at least 14 states:

  •  A preliminary report of the investigation is available from CDC’s, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, MMWR adobe portable document format icon [PDF – 114 KB].
  • Since February 2009, 235 persons from 14 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul. Patients range in age from < 1 to 85 years old with reports of 3% persons hospitalized and no deaths.
  • Collaborative investigative efforts of many local, state, and federal public health, agriculture and regulatory agencies led to the implication of alfalfa sprouts.
  • The alfalfa sprouts were produced at several sprout growers and appear to involve only seeds sold by one seed company that originated from one grower which strongly suggests that the seeds were contaminated.
  • This outbreak may indicate a need to determine how well existing FDA guidance is being implemented (since it is voluntary), as well as to explore additional studies of measures that can be taken to prevent, detect, and eliminate contamination of seeds and sprouts.
  • FDA and CDC continue to recommend that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts, including sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts, until further notice because the product has been linked to Salmonella serotype Saintpaul contamination. Other types of sprouts have not been implicated.

 Cases Infected with the Outbreak Strain of Salmonella Saintpaul Via Alfalfa Sprouts

United States, by State, as of May 7, 2009 (n=235)

A map displaying cases infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul in the United States of America, by state, as of May 7, 2009.

As of May 7, 2009, 235 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported from 14 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Nebraska (111), Iowa (35), South Dakota (38), Michigan (19), Kansas (8), Pennsylvania (7), Minnesota (5), Ohio (3), Illinois (2), Virginia (2), West Virginia (2), Florida (1), North Carolina (1), and Utah (1).


Among the 234 persons with known illness onset dates, illnesses began between February 1 and April 15, 2009. Patients range in age from < 1 to 85 years; 68% are female. Among persons with available information, 3% reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The outbreak can be visually described with a chart (see below) showing the number of persons who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. It shows that illnesses began in early February, peaked in early March and have been tapering off in April. Illnesses that occurred after April 17, 2009 may not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks. Please see the Salmonella Outbreak Investigations: Timeline for Reporting Cases for more details.

For more from the current update, go here 

Infections with the Outbreak Strain of Salmonella Saintpaul

 By Date of Illness Onset by State (n=234*)

Infections with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul, by date of illness onset