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E. coli outbreak covering 7 states linked to Costco chicken salad, officials say

By
Doug G. Ware
Wholesale discount chain Costco has pulled a chicken salad from its shelves nationwide after the Centers for Disease Control and other federal officials said an E. coli outbreak that has spread to seven states likely originated with the product. Photo by Ken Wolter/Shutterstock
Wholesale discount chain Costco has pulled a chicken salad from its shelves nationwide after the Centers for Disease Control and other federal officials said an E. coli outbreak that has spread to seven states likely originated with the product. Photo by Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

ISSAQUAH, Wash., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Another E. coli outbreak that has so far spread to seven states has been linked to a salad product sold in some Costco stores nationwide, officials said Tuesday.

Federal health officials are working to track the bacterial outbreak that has so far impacted people in Montana, Utah, Colorado, California, Missouri, Virginia and Washington state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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Montana has the most cases, with six, followed by Utah (five) and Colorado (four). The other states have reported just one case so far.

"The epidemiologic evidence available to investigators at this time suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco stores is a likely source of this outbreak," the CDC said in a news release. "The ongoing investigation has not identified what specific ingredient in the chicken salad is linked to illness."

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service have joined the CDC in the investigation.

So far, 19 people have been sickened by this E. coli spread, officials said. Their cases were reported between Oct. 6 and Nov. 3. Those sickened range in age between 5 and 84 and 57 percent are female. Officials said five had to be hospitalized.

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This outbreak follows a similar spread of E. coli that investigators linked to the Chipotle restaurant chain in six states.

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"State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to obtain information about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before their illness started," the CDC said. "Fourteen (88 percent) of 16 people purchased or ate rotisserie chicken salad from Costco."

Costco, a wholesale discount chain, said it has removed the chicken salad from all of its stores nationwide until further notice.

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