Kimberly-Clark Says Some of Its Tampons May Be Contaminated With Infection-Causing Bacteria
By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
Nov. 16, 2011 -- The Kimberly-Clark Corp. says it has ordered a limited recall of 1,400 cases of tampons contaminated with a bacterium that could cause serious infections and, according to the FDA, could be life threatening.
"We have so far recovered 98% of the product -- Kotex Natural Balance Security Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency," Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand tells WebMD. "We are looking for about 300 boxes, each containing 36 tampons."
He tells WebMD the company has not received any reports of injury to date.
The recall, which began Nov. 9, involves only the company's Natural Balance Security Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency brand.
Who Is at Increased Risk?
FDA officials say in a news release that the tampons were manufactured with a raw material contaminated with a bacterium, Enterobacter sakazakii, that "may cause health risks, including vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, or infections that can be life threatening."
Women with serious existing illnesses, cancer, or immune-compromised conditions such at HIV are at increased risk.
The recalled product includes both 18-count and 36-count packages of the affected tampon that were shipped to stores between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2.
The recall is limited to two carton codes, or SKUs: 15063 (18 count) and 15068 (36 count).
The tampons were shipped to: Walmart stores in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas; some Fry's stores in Arizona; and Smith's stores in Utah and Arizona.
All stores that received the affected product have been asked to remove the tampons from shelves.
Symptoms of Infection
FDA officials say consumers should contact a doctor immediately if they have used the affected product and experience unusual vaginal discharge, rash, fever, headache, vomiting, or abdominal pains, especially if they are HIV positive, have AIDS, cancer, or another serious illness, or if they may be pregnant.
Kimberly-Clark says no other named products are subject to the recall.
All other Kotex tampons, including Natural Balance Security tampons that do not contain the affected SKU or lot numbers, are safe to use.
The company's news release says consumers who have the recalled product should stop using it immediately and contact the company's consumer services department at 800-335-6839.
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SOURCES:News release, FDA.News release, Kimberly-Clark.Kimberly-Clark web site.Bob Brand, spokesman, Kimberly-Clark. ©2011 WebMD, LLC. All Rights Reserved.