Costco chicken salad linked to 19 sick from E. coli

Costco (AP)

Nineteen people in seven states are sick with an E coli infection linked to chicken salad from Costco, federal health officials said Tuesday.

“Five ill people have been hospitalized, and two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report, according to NBC News.

It’s a different strain of E coli from the one that forced the closure of more than 40 Chipotle outlets in Washington and Oregon earlier this month. But the dangers are the same.

The bacteria, which is very common and usually harmless, can take on a toxic mutation that causes serious illness.

“The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores in several states is a likely source of this outbreak,” CDC said.

“Fourteen of 16 people purchased or ate rotisserie chicken salad from Costco in the week before illness started. The ongoing investigation has not identified what specific ingredient in the chicken salad is linked to illness.”

Costco has stopped making and selling it.

“Consumers who purchased rotisserie chicken salad from any Costco store in the United States on or before November 20, 2015, should not eat it and should throw it away,” CDC advised. “Even if some of the rotisserie chicken salad has been eaten and no one has gotten sick, throw the rest of the product away.”

Colorado health officials said all four people reported sick there have recovered. “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.”

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