As of March 17, 2020, 39 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from six states – Florida (1), Illinois (6), Iowa (3), Missouri (1), Texas (1) and Utah (27).
Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 6, 2020, to March 2, 2020. Ill people range in age from 1 to 79 years, with a median age of 28. Fifty-three percent of ill people are female. Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicate that clover sprouts are the source of this outbreak.
State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures they had in the week before their illness started. Sixteen (59%) of 27 people interviewed reported eating sprouts. This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 8% reported eating sprouts in the week before they were interviewed. Fourteen (58%) of 24 people interviewed reported eating sprouts at a Jimmy John’s restaurant.
Jimmy John’s LLC reported that all of their restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020. Clover sprouts should no longer be available at Jimmy John’s restaurants.
FDA identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 in samples of Chicago Indoor Garden products that contain sprouts. On March 16, 2020, Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts.
FDA’s traceback investigation has shown that a common seed lot was used to grow the sprouts recalled by Chicago Indoor Garden and the sprouts that were served at Jimmy John’s locations where people sickened in the current outbreak reported eating. The same seed lot was also used to grow sprouts linked to an outbreak of the same strain of E. coli O103 infections in 2019.