Nineteen people in seven states including California, have been infected with E. coli linked to chicken salad sold at Costco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The majority of the cases have turned up in four Western states. So far, five people have been hospitalized and two have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. No one has died.
Four cases of E. coli were confirmed in Colorado, where one person was hospitalized. All four people have recovered, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Another case in Washington was not as serious. The person from King County was not hospitalized, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
“We take E. coli very seriously in Washington,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist said in a statement. “We are working with the CDC and state partners to determine the source.”
The state health departments along with the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working with Costco to figure out what the specific ingredient in the chicken salad is the exact source of the contamination.
The FDA confirmed to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that the chicken salad has been pulled from store shelves in that state.
Health investigators said that the people who bought the chicken salad purchased it in late October or early November.
If you’ve got chicken salad from Costco in your refrigerator, look at the label. If you bought one with item number 37719, throw the container away immediately.
If you’ve eaten some and start to feel sick, make sure you call your doctor. People typically get sick two to eight days after eating food infected with E. coli. Symptoms can include abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which can sometimes be bloody.
Most people who get sick from E. coli recover within a week; however, people with chronic conditions can experience much more severe symptoms that can include kidney failure. The elderly and children are particularly vulnerable.
The epidemiologic evidence available suggests 14 of 16 people bought or ate the rotisserie chicken salad from Costco the week before they got sick, according to the CDC.