The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a warning about ‘Los Angeles Salad Company Genuine Sweet Baby Carrots’ as they may be tainted with Shigella. The carrots come from Mexico. Costco has issued a voluntary recall of said carrots after four people became ill.

The carrots are sold in 672 g/1.5lb plastic bags, bearing ITM 50325, UPC 8 31129 00137 7. Their sell by date is 8/13/07. They were sold in the Costco stores in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland.

Foods tainted (contaminated) with Shigella might not smell or look spoiled, says the agency.

What is shigellosis (Shigella infection)?

Shigellosis is an infection cause by Shigella, a group of bacteria. An infected person usually develops diarrhea (often bloody), fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms generally appear one or two days after exposure to the bacterium. Some infected people may have no symptoms at all, but could be contagious. In most cases the patient will recover within five to seven days. Some people, especially young children and the elderly can experience such severe diarrhea that they need to be hospitalized. Children under two who have a severe infection may experience seizures.

What is the treatment for shigellosis?

It can generally be treated with antibiotics, for example, ampicillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, nalidixic acid, or ciprofloxacin. The treatment shortens the illness and kills the bacteria that may be present in the patient’s stools.

When several people within a community become infected doctors may only treat the more severe cases with antibiotics. This is because Shigella is becoming more resistant to antibiotics – giving antibiotics to every infected person, even those only mildly ill, may make the germs more resistant in future.

Such antidiarrheal agents as loperamide or diphenoxylate with atropine may make the illness worse and should not be used (CDC).

Written by: Christian Nordqvist