Health officials in Colorado say they are working with health departments in several western states and federal health authorities to investigate a number of E. coli O157:H7 cases connected with Costco chicken salad.
Four cases of E. coli O157:H7 have been confirmed in Colorado, including two cases in Jefferson County and one each in Arapahoe and Routt counties. One person was hospitalized; all have recovered. The individuals purchased the product on Oct. 25 and 26 and became ill between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3.
“We are working with Costco,” said Alicia Cronquist, an epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “FDA reported to us the product has been removed from the shelves and no longer is for sale in Colorado.” Consumers with “Chicken Salad made with Rotisserie Chicken” – item number 37719 – purchased from Costco in Colorado should discard it.
Other states with confirmed E. coli cases linked to the chicken salad include Utah, Montana and Washington.
In Washington, “Chicken Salad made with Rotisserie Chicken” from Costco has been connected with at least one case of E. coli O157:H7 in Washington. The confirmed case, from King County, became ill in late October and was not hospitalized.
“We take E. coli very seriously in Washington,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist, “and we are working with CDC and state partners to determine the source.”
Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea – often bloody – and abdominal cramps. Most people recover within a week. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
HUS can occur in people of any age, but is most common in young children under five, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of HUS can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination. People who have these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
Antibiotics and antidiarrheal medicines should not be given unless E. coli is ruled out, since they may increase the risk of HUS in people with E. coli infections.