An outbreak of E. coli in Edmonton, Alberta, is possibly linked to fresh bean sprouts from a local grower, according to a public health official.
The Alberta Health Services issued a public warning Aug. 1 about E. coli, but did not name a grower and no recall has been issued.
As of Aug. 1, officials had confirmed 24 E. coli cases in the Edmonton area in the previous two weeks, according to multiple media reports. Calls to the Alberta Health Services were not immediately returned.
Dr. Christopher Sikora, lead medical officer for the Edmonton zone of the Alberta Health Services, is quoted by newspaper and radio reports as saying 21 of the sick people reported eating fresh bean sprouts before becoming ill. Five of the people had to be hospitalized.
“There is likely no ongoing risk to the public,” Sikora told the Edmonton Journal newspaper. “There is a single Edmonton-based producer for sprouts and we’re still investigating at this point in time. We may or may not find out the reason for the contamination.”
The Canadian Press news service reported the Edmonton sprout grower supplies restaurants and grocery stores. The grower’s operation was not shut down, according to the Calgary Herald and other media.
Sikora is quoted by multiple media outlets as saying the outbreak is unusual because during all of 2013 there were only 20 E. coli cases in the Edmonton region.
The Aug. 1 health advisory issued by Alberta Health Services encourages the public to thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables and cook beef to 160° F to reduce risks of E. coli infections.