E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Cheese Sold at Cotsco

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Costco are warning consumers to avoid Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda cheese, the FDA just announced, noting that the cheese may be related to an outbreak of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">E.coli infections.

The Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda cheese, (Costco item 40654) was offered for sale and in cheese sampling events at Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada and is preliminarily linked with an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.

The agencies advise that consumers in possession of this cheese should not eat it and should either return the cheese to the place of purchase or dispose of the cheese in a closed plastic bag, placing it in sealed trash can to prevent people or animals, including wild animals, from eating it.

Costco is advising consumers to return any remaining Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda cheese they may have at home to Costco for a full refund. Costco has voluntarily removed the cheese from its stores and, using card purchase records, has notified consumers by phone of the situation.

Most people infected with E. coli O157:H7 develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps, but some illnesses may last longer and can be more severe. While most people recover within a week, some may develop a severe infection. Rarely, as symptoms of diarrhea improve, a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can occur; this can happen at any age but is most common in children under five years old and in older adults. People with HUS should be hospitalized immediately, as their kidneys may stop working and they may be at risk for other serious health problems.

As of Thursday, November 4, 2010, 25 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from five states since mid-October. The number of ill persons identified in each state with this strain is as follows: Arizona (11), California (1), Colorado (8), New Mexico (3), and Nevada (2). To date, there have been nine reported hospitalizations, one possible case of HUS, and no deaths.

Anyone who experienced, or is experiencing, signs or symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection should contact his or her healthcare provider immediately. Healthcare providers should report any suspected infection to state or local public health authorities right away.

The FDA, CDC and Costco are working together on the investigation and will update the public with more information as soon as it becomes available. As more information becomes available, the recommendations to consumers may change. The FDA, in conjunction with the state of California, has initiated an investigation at Bravo Farms.

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