Category Archives: Infections

E coli outbreak linked to Costco chicken salad spreads to 7 states


19163As of November 23, 2015, 19 people in seven states have been reported to be infected with a strain of E coli that has been linked to chicken salad sold at Costco, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. The strain is known as known as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157:H7).

Five have been hospitalized, and 2 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

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.

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 reported to public health officials that the company had removed all remaining rotisserie chicken salad from all stores in the U.S. and stopped further production of the product until further notice.

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.

Even if some of the rotisserie chicken salad has been eaten and no one has gotten sick, throw the rest of the product away.

This product has a typical shelf life of 3 days and is labeled “Chicken Salad made with Rotisserie Chicken” with item number 37719 on the label.


Costco chicken salad connected to King County E. Coli case


E coli - Photo NIAIDBy Lindsay Bosslet
Public Health – Seattle & King County

The Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with local health officials, are currently investigating a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases that has been connected to Costco chicken salad.

One case has been reported in Washington state. This person, a King County resident, is a teen male who was not hospitalized. He reported eating the implicated product, which he purchased from the Shoreline Costco.

For more information on this outbreak, read this press release from Washington State Department of Health.

If you purchased this product (number 37719) from a Washington Costco, discard it and do not eat it.

People who have eaten this product and feel ill should consult with their health care provider. People usually get sick 2-8 days after getting E. coli.

PHOTO: E coli courtesy of National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease


Costco takes chicken salad off Washington shelves due to E. coli


Escherichia Coli_NIAID E Coli BacteriaFrom Washington State Department of Health

Chicken Salad made with Rotisserie Chicken” from Costco has been connected with at least one case of E. coli O157:H7 in Washington. Consumers who purchased this product – item number 37719 – from any Washington Costco location should discard it.

The Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other western states, are investigating E. coli illnesses from chicken salad purchased from various Costco stores in late October. Washington has confirmed one case of E. coli O157:H7 from King County, who became ill in late October. This confirmed case was not hospitalized.

Others states with confirmed E. coli cased linked to Costco chicken salad include Colorado, Montana, and Utah.

“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.”

Others states with confirmed E. coli cased linked to Costco chicken salad include Colorado, Montana, and Utah. In addition to CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture are working with Costco to determine the source of the contamination. Continue reading


Medicaid denies nearly half of requests for hepatitis C drug

Hepatitis C virus

Hepatitis C virus

By Michelle Andrews

People with hepatitis C who sought prescriptions for highly effective but pricey new drugs were significantly more likely to get turned down if they had Medicaid coverage than if they were insured by Medicare or private commercial policies, a recent study found.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine analyzed the hepatitis C prescriptions from 2,342 patients in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey that were submitted between November 2014 and April 2015 to a large specialty pharmacy that serves the region.

The drugs included Sovaldi, Harvoni and Viekira Pak, and others that are part of the treatment regimen. A 12-week course of treatment for one patient can reach more than $90,000. Continue reading


Testing fails to find source of E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants


chipotleFrom the Washington State Department of Health

Food safety and disease investigation staff from the Washington State Department of Health are still working to investigate the cause of an outbreak of illnesses linked to 27 cases of E. coli O26 illnesses in Washington.

The first round of test results did not find E. coli bacteria in food samples taken from several Chipotle restaurants according to officials at the Food and Drug Administration.

EscherichiaColi_NIAIDThe 27 cases, connected in this outbreak include people from Clark (11), Cowlitz (2), Island (2), King (6), Skagit (5), and Whatcom (1) counties.

Ten of these people were hospitalized; no Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) complications or deaths have been reported. Most people who are ill report eating at Chipotle restaurants before getting sick.

In Washington, the most recent case reported eating at Chipotle on October 24. While health officials believe the risk for new exposures is very low, the number of cases in the outbreak may rise or fall as pending lab tests determine if more ill people have this specific strain of E.coli infection. In Washington, four tests are still in progress. Continue reading


E. coli outbreak likely linked to Chipotle restaurants grows


chipotleFrom Public Health – Seattle & King County

The investigation into an outbreak of E. coli illnesses that may be related to Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon has grown from 19 reported Washington cases to 25 as of today.

The Washington State Department of Health continues working closely with local, state, and federal partners on a disease investigation to learn the extent of the outbreak and possible sources of E. coli bacteria.

In Washington, residents of Clark (11), Cowlitz (2), Island (2), King (6), and Skagit (4) counties have been reported as outbreak cases.

Of the 25 cases, 23 reported having been at Chipotle restaurants before getting sick. Nine of the Washington residents were hospitalized. Cases range in age from five-to-60. No deaths have been reported in this outbreak.

There are five Washington restaurants associated with this outbreak: Hazel Dell, 7715 NE 5th Avenue, Suite 109, in Vancouver; 1404 Broadway Avenue and 4229 University Way NE in Seattle; 512 Ramsey Way 101 in Kent; and 1753 S. Burlington Blvd. in Burlington.

The Oregon Department of Public Health has information on cases in that state. The state health agencies and local health partners are coordinating with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration on the investigation.

Chipotle restaurants are under a voluntary closure. The Washington Department of Health Food Safety Program staff are working to establish criteria for the restaurants in this state to reopen.


19 E. coli infections linked to Chipotle restaurants


chipotleFrom Washington State Department of Health

A cluster of E. coli cases led to the voluntary closure of many Chipotle restaurants this week.

The restaurants under investigation are linked to 19 cases of E. coli illnesses in Washington.

Three more cases were reported from Oregon, also associated with Chipotle restaurants.

Seven of the Washington patients and one Oregon patient were hospitalized; there have been no deaths.

Four cases were reported in King County, nine in Clark County, one in Cowlitz County, and five in Skagit County. Three cases were reported in Oregon residents.

While the outbreak appears to be linked to food served at Chipotle restaurants, the food or other source of contamination hasn’t yet been determined and remains under investigation. Continue reading


E coli outbreak may be linked to Chipotle restaurants


Health officials say 19 E. coli cases may be linked to Chipotle restaurants in Wash. and Ore.

chipotleBy Hilary N. Karasz 
Public Health – Seattle & King County

Health officials are currently investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli that may be linked to Chipotle restaurants.

Four cases were reported in King County. While the outbreak is currently under investigation, preliminary information is that fourpeople in King County have become ill, two teenagers and two people in their 20s.

One of the teens and one of the people in his/her 20s were hospitalized. In King County, all four ill people ate at a Chipotle between October 19 and 23.

While the outbreak appears to be linked to food served at Chipotle restaurants, the food or other source of contamination hasn’t yet been determined and remains under investigation.

Chipotle restaurants in Washington have voluntarily closed until further information on the cause of the outbreak is available.

Chipotle restaurants in Washington have voluntarily closed until further information on the cause of the outbreak is available.

The type of E. coli implicated in this outbreak has not been confirmed but is a strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli similar to E. coli O157:H7. It can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. It can sometimes result in severe, life-threatening illness and death. In general, anyone with bloody diarrhea should see a healthcare provider.

Learn more by reading the Washington State Department of Health and the Oregon Health Authority news releases.

Follow Public Health Insider for updates next week and beyond.


Oregon teen contracts plague


An Oregon teen has contracted bubonic plague, state health officials report. The girl is believed to have acquired the disease from a flea bite during a hunting trip near Heppner in Morrow County that started on Oct. 16.

She reportedly fell ill on Oct. 21 and was hospitalized in Bend on Oct. 24. She is recovering in the hospital;s intensive care unit.

Oregon Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologists are working with health officials in Crook, Deschutes and Morrow counties to investigate the illness.

No other persons are believed to have been infected.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 8.29.49 AM

Plague is an infectious bacterial disease that is carried by squirrels, chipmunks, and other wild rodents and their fleas. When an infected rodent becomes sick and dies, its fleas can carry the infection to other warm-blooded animals or humans through bites. Continue reading


Court orders TB patient to comply with treatment


tb-imageBy James Apa
Public Health – Seattle & King County

For what is believed to be only the sixth time in more than a decade, Public Health – Seattle & King County has taken the rare step of seeking a court order to detain a potentially contagious patient who resisted treatment for tuberculosis.

On October 23, King County Superior Court issued an order for electronic home detention. The patient is currently complying with the court order and receiving treatment.

Dr. Masa Narita, Public Health’s TB control officer, said such action is always a last resort but was necessary in this case to protect the health of the community.

“Tuberculosis can be infectious without treatment, so to prevent others from being exposed to TB in the community and to prevent development of drug resistant TB, a person with active TB needs to be treated with antibiotics consistently for several months,” Narita ai. “This person did not comply with treatment on numerous occasions, which puts the patient at risk for a prolonged illness or dying and puts others at risk as well.”

Treating TB Continue reading


Can Yelp help track food poisoning outbreaks?


yelp-logoBy Barbara Feder Ostrov

When a Shigella outbreak at a San Jose, Calif. seafood restaurant sickened dozens of people last weekend, Yelp reviewers were on the case – right alongside public health officials.

“PLEASE DO NOT EAT HERE!!!!” Pauline A. wrote in her Oct. 18 review of the Mariscos San Juan #3 restaurant. “My sister in and brother-in-law along with his parents ate here Friday night and all four of them ended up in the hospital with food poisoning!!!”

Research suggests that Yelp reviews may act as an early warning system or identify potential patients that public health officials might not otherwise have found in their food-borne illness investigations.

That same day, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department shut down the restaurant. Two days later, officials announced that more than 80 people who had eaten there had become acutely ill, with many requiring hospitalization. Twelve diners went to intensive care units.

Since then, the outbreak has grown to  more than 90 cases in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Continue reading