An outbreak and case-control study of Salmonella Havana linked to alfalfa sprouts in South Australia, 2018

Stephen Harfield, Rebecca Beazley, Emma Denehy, Alessia Centofanti, Paul Dowsett, Tambri Housen, Louise Flood

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An epidemiological investigation and a retrospective case-control study were conducted into an outbreak of Salmonella Havana in alfalfa sprouts, in Adelaide, Australia. In total, 31 cases of S. Havana were notified during June and July 2018 and linked to the outbreak. Eighteen cases and 54 unmatched controls were included in a case-control study. Results from the case-control study indicated an increased risk of illness linked to the consumption of alfalfa sprouts; this was supported by trace-back, sampling and environmental investigations. This outbreak of S. Havana was caused by consumption of alfalfa sprouts from one local sprouts producer. It is unclear as to when in the production of alfalfa sprouts the contamination occurred. However, contaminated seeds and poor pest control are the most likely causes. This investigation highlights the importance of ensuring that producers take appropriate action to minimise the likelihood of contamination and to comply with legislation and standards for primary production and food safety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunicable diseases intelligence (2018)
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


  • alfalfa sprouts
  • case-control study
  • outbreak
  • Salmonella Havana
  • South Australia

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