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OMAHA, Neb. – Nebraska health officials are urging people to avoid eating alfalfa sprouts after linking them to 15 cases of salmonella.

Most of the cases have been discovered in the Omaha area, and authorities have linked them to several different restaurants and several grocery store chains. Douglas County Health Department epidemiologist Justin Frederick said Tuesday that investigators have yet to determine the specific source of the illnesses — other than linking them to alfalfa sprouts.

“We are currently working with our state and federal partners, so everyone is working to identify the source of the outbreak itself,” Frederick said.

Frederick said so far, no cases in other states have been linked to this outbreak and no product has been recalled. But public health officials nationwide have been alerted to the cases in Nebraska, so they can monitor any illnesses linked to alfalfa sprouts.

Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Most people recover from a salmonella infection, but some people develop serious illnesses. People with weakened immune systems, the elderly and young children are particularly susceptible. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 26,500 people are hospitalized and 450 die each year from salmonella infections.

Frederick said he’s optimistic the local outbreak is over, but it’s too early to know for sure.

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Nebraska: Don’t Eat Alfalfa Sprouts Amid Salmonella Outbreak

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