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Jimmy John's Source of Denver E. Coli Outbreak

Nov 4, 2013

Fresh produce used on sandwiches served at Jimmy John’s Denver, Colorado-area restaurants have been linked to an E. coli outbreak.

To date, eight people have reportedly fallen ill after eating at three Jimmy John’s restaurants during the period of October 5th to October 9th, Alicia Cronquist, epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, told

Jimmy John’s sandwiches were consumed by all the stricken, according to The Huffington Pot.

Cronquist pointed out that, although sprout contamination has been blamed for causing some prior outbreaks at Jimmy John’s, it appears that E. coli has not been detected on the sprouts this time. As of November 1st, state officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which are working in collaboration, did not know the particular produce item that was contaminated, according to

As per their collaboration, the FDA’s national and Denver offices are working with the state, said FDA spokesman Dave Steigman, who also stated that the agency was hoping to have additional information regarding the outbreak this week.

Cronquist told The Huffington Post: “Our leading hypothesis for what's happened is that there was a contaminated produce item that was distributed to the stores.”

"We have not identified any food handling issues at the particular establishments that we think would contribute to illness," she added.

“We’re not seeing any ongoing cases, and we’re fairly confident this was a single lot or batch,” said Cronquist. Meanwhile a number of Salmonella and E. coli outbreaks tied to sprouts have been blamed on Jimmy John’s since 2008. The most recent situation prior to the current one happened in February 2012 when 12 people in five states were sickened by E. coli traced back to Jimmy John’s sprouts, according to

Other illness cases are being investigated to determine if there is a link to this outbreak, which includes one hospitalization, The Huffington Post reported.

E. coli are a group of bacteria that are most commonly found in the intestines and feces of animals. Some strains are needed for digestion; however, some strains are harmful, deadly, produce toxins, and are part of a group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli, or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E. coli (STEC).

E. coli infections can lead to severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloody stool; in very severe cases, E. coli infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail.

Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk to E. coli infection and HUS.

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