Updated 12/17/10 8:05 p.m. C.T.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Health officials are reporting an outbreak of Salmonella in nine Illinois counties, including Cook, that has been linked to eating alfalfa sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants.

The Illinois Dept. of Public Health, along with local health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the Salmonella outbreak, a release from the department said.

Many people who have become ill reported eating alfalfa sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants in nine counties in Illinois — Adams, Champaign, Cook, Kankakee, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Will and Winnebago, the release said.

The department has received reports of 46 Illinois residents becoming ill with the type of Salmonella since Nov. 1.

Alfalfa sprout producers and suppliers are being investigated and produce testing is also being conducted.

If you have eaten sprouts and experience diarrhea and the fever, the health department advises you to contact your doctor or health department.

Symptoms of Salmonellosis — the illness caused by Salmonella bacteria — include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or stomach cramps. Illness usually develops within six to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria and generally lasts three to seven days, the release said.

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