SPRINGFIELD — Sprouts are suspected in a salmonella cluster in December in Illinois and Wisconsin that may be tied to the Jimmy John's sandwich chain.

The Illinois Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other state and local health departments made the announcement Friday.

Two of the cases have affected Illinois residents who fell ill on Dec. 20 and Dec. 26. Neither case is from McLean County, according to the county health department.

Jimmy John's announced Friday it has directed all its franchisees to stop serving sprouts as a precautionary measure after seven customer complaints during one week in December in Illinois and Wisconsin. IDPH asked Jimmy John’s to take the step until the investigation is complete. 

The company said Friday afternoon an investigation over the previous 24 hours indicated the sprouts were purchased from two growers in Minnesota.

“Food safety and the welfare of our customers are our top priorities and not negotiable in our business,” said James North, Jimmy John's President and CEO, in a news release, adding the company is working with the various agencies in the investigation.

"While the results of the investigation are not conclusive and we are still gathering more information, we have voluntarily directed all franchisees to remove sprouts as a precautionary measure from all supply and distribution,” North said.

IDPH is also reminding restaurants not to let food handlers work if they have diarrhea.

If you have developed symptoms of salmonella infection after eating food at a Jimmy John’s restaurant, please contact your health care provider or local health department.

Symptoms may include headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, chills, fever, nausea, and dehydration. Symptoms usually appear six to 72 hours after ingesting the bacteria, but can be longer.

Most illnesses resolve on their own and do not require treatment other than drinking fluids to stay hydrated. If your symptoms persist or are severe, promptly contact your health care provider.

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