An E. coli outbreak that has sickened 19 people in seven states has been linked to tainted celery produced by Taylor Farms. So far, most of the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses have been linked to rotisserie chicken salad sold at Costco, but 71 products sold by other retailers have also been recalled.
Retailers affected by the recall include Walmart, 7-Eleven, Target, Costco, King Soopers, Pantry, Savemart, Safeway, Vons, Albertons, Tony’s and Starbucks. The recalled products include deli salads, salad kits, sandwiches and wraps. (To see the full list of recalled products in this outbreak, click the link on “celery” above.)
Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them as they risk serious illness if they do. E. coli O157:H7 produces Shiga toxins that cause illness.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea. Sometimes there is also vomiting and and a fever of less than 101˚F. Symptoms usually set in one to three days after exposure and last about a week. Those most at risk for serious complications include children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems.
Between 5 and 10 percent of people with E. coli infections develop a life-threatening complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a form of kidney failure. Two of the 19 people sickened in this outbreak have been diagnosed with HUS. Symptoms, which usually appear on the eighth day of E. coli symptoms, include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, loss of color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. In addition to kidney failure, HUS can cause seizure, stroke, coma and death. If anyone is experiencing these symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately. An E. coli infection can be very serious and medical care needs to be administered.
Fifty-seven percent of the case patients in this outbreak, who range in age from 5 years to 84, are female. By state, the case count is as follows: California (1), Colorado (4), Missouri (1), Montana (6), Utah (5), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).