Nineteen people in seven American states had taken ill from an E. coli infection linked to chicken salad from Costco, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Officials from the federal health agency are now advising people who might have bought the chicken salad to junk it, no matter where they made their purchases.
There have been reports of people taking ill from E.coli infection from California, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Five of 19 infected with E. coli had to be hospitalised while two had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.
The outbreak was traced to Costco's chicken salad, though, according to the CDC, it was not known which ingredient was contaminated. According to Costco, which operates warehouses in Huntsville, Hoover, Montgomery and Mobile, it stopped the sale of chicken salad and removed all remaining rotisserie chicken as of 20 November. It had also suspended production until further notice, the company added.
People have been advised to throw away the chicken salad, they might have bought from Costco, even if had been partly consumed. The product, with a typical shelf life of three days, bears the label "Chicken Salad made with Rotisserie Chicken." The item number 37719 is marked on the label.
The strain of E coli in the latest outbreak was different from the one that forced the closure of over 40 Chipotle outlets in Washington and Oregon earlier this month. However, the dangers were the same.
The bacteria, which is very common and usually harmless, can mutate into one 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.