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Volume 5, Number 5—October 1999


Infections Associated with Eating Seed Sprouts: An International Concern

Peter J. Taormina*Comments to Author , Larry R. Beuchat*, and Laurence Slutsker†
Author affiliations: *University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia, USA; and †Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Table 1

Reported outbreaks of illness associated with seed sprouts, 1973–1998

Year Pathogen No. of culture-confirmed casesa Location Type of sprout Likely source of contami-nation Ref.
1973 Bacillus cereus 4 1 U.S. state Soy, cress, mustard Seed 3
1988 Salmonella Saint-Paul 143 United Kingdom Mung Seed 5
1989 S. Gold-Coast 31 United Kingdom Cress Seed and/or sprouter 7
1994 S. Bovismorbificans 595 Sweden, Finland Alfalfa Seed 8,9
1995 S. Stanley 242 17 U.S. states, Finland Alfalfa Seed 10
1995-96 S. Newport 133b >7 U.S. states, Canada, Denmark Alfalfa Seed 11
1996 S. Montevideo and S. Meleagridis ~500 2 U.S. states Alfalfa Seed and/or sprouter 13
1996 Escherichia coli O157:H7 ~6,000 Japan Radish Seed 16
1997 E. coli O157:H7 126 Japan Radish Seed 17
1997 S. Meleagridis 78 Canada Alfalfa Seed 15
1997 S. Infantis and S. Anatum 109 2 U.S. states Alfalfa, mung, other Seed 14
1997 E. coli O157:H7 85 4 U.S. states Alfalfa Seed 18
1997-98 S. Senftenberg 52 2 U.S. states Clover,alfalfa Seed and/or sprouter *
1998 E. coli O157:NM 8 2 U.S. states Clover, alfalfa Seed and/or sprouter *
1998 S. Havana, S. Cubana, and S. Tennessee 34 5 U.S. states Alfalfa Seed and/or sprouter *

aThe number of culture-confirmed cases represents only a small proportion of the total illness in these outbreaks, as many ill persons either do not seek care or do not have a stool culture performed if they do seek care.
bIncludes only culture-confirmed cases in Oregon and British Columbia.
*Mohle-Boetani J., pers. comm.

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