Health investigators confirm a handful of cases of E. coli have been linked back to chicken salad sold at Costco.
Nineteen people have been infected in seven states, 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.”
On November 26, the FDA recalled an ingredient in the Costco rotisserie chicken salad, Celery and Onion Diced Blend, made by Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. of Tracy, California. Sample testing by the Montana Department of Health found the celery potentially contains E. coli.
Earlier, 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.