Departments of health from around the Midwest are urging people not to eat raw sprouts grown from clover. As of the CDC's latest update on the raw sprout outbreak, which was issued on Friday, a total of 14 people from 6 different states have contracted E. coli O26. Health experts say that there are almost certainly additional cases that will go unreported.
Iowa has seen the worst of it so far, with 5 confirmed cases. Missouri has seen 3 cases while Kansas and Michigan have each had 2. Arkansas and Wisconsin have also had 1 case each.
The cases identified to date have been tentatively traced back to raw clover sprouts served at Jimmy John's restaurants.
As E. coli infections go, things could be a lot worse. This strain is producing what doctors call Shiga toxin type 1. This bacterium is not producing the more dangerous Shiga type 2 toxin. Nonetheless officials urge anyone who has recently eaten raw sprouts and is now experiencing symptoms to seek medical care. Even this strain can lead to death, especially in the very young, very old or in patients with compromised immune systems.
Michigan has been the most aggressive state so far in warning its residents. It released an update on Friday and urged residents to avoid all raw clover sprouts for the forseeable future. Health officials there say that they suspect an additional 5 cases but are awaiting test results. There have so far been 2 hospitalizations linked to the infections.