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Salmonella in chicken salad suspected cause of Iowa illnesses

Few details are included in a consumer alert from the Iowa Department of Public Health that warns people about a Salmonella outbreak linked to chicken salad sold at Fareway grocery stores.

Laboratory tests have detected Salmonella in the chicken salad, which is made by a third party, according to the state alert issued Tuesday. Iowa officials are investigating an undisclosed number of Salmonella illnesses across the state.

The Fareway Stores Inc. grocery chain has not issued a recall and did not appear to have any information about the Salmonella investigation on its websites as of Tuesday night. The grocery chain stopped selling the implicated chicken salad Friday evening after state officials notified the company about “multiple cases” of illnesses.

“The bottom line is that no one should eat this product,” said state Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said in the consumer alert. “If you have it in your refrigerator, you should throw it away.”

Iowa’s Department of Public Health and Department of Inspections and Appeals jointly issued the consumer alert, but the agencies did not reveal the name of the chicken salad supplier.

Although the alert did not specify how many illnesses are under investigation in relation to the chicken salad, Iowa officials reported the cases are spread “across Iowa.” The Fareway grocery chain has more than 120 locations.

Advice to consumers
Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness.

Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but they are still be able to spread the infection to others.

Anyone who has eaten any chicken salad from Fareway stores and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria. However, in some people it takes two weeks for symptoms to develop.

Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days.

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