If you use Kotex tampons, you might want to check the product number on the box. Kimberly-Clark is recalling about 1,400 cases of tampons because of contamination with a bacterium that could cause dangerous infections.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recalled tampons were “manufactured with a raw material contaminated with a bacterium, Enterobacter sakazakii, which may cause health risks, including vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease or infections that can be life-threatening.” The FDA cautions that women with underlying health problems, cancer or immune-compromised conditions like HIV are at increased risk of infection.
So far, Kimberly-Clark has not received any reports of illness linked to the products.
The recall includes 18-count and 36-count boxes of Kotex Natural Balance Security tampons (unscented, regular absorbency), which were shipped between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2, 2011, to Walmart, Fry’s and Smith’s stores in eight states: Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.
Not all stores in the affected states received recalled products, the company said, and those that did were alerted to remove the products from their shelves. For a list of the specific lots that were recalled and the stores that received them, go to the Kimberly-Clark website or click here.
Any consumer who has used an affected product and experienced unusual vaginal discharge, rash, fever, headache, vomiting or abdominal pain — particularly if she has an underlying illness or may be pregnant — should contact her doctor immediately, the FDA said.
Any other consumer with the recalled product should stop using it immediately and contact Kimberly-Clark’s consumer services department at 800-335-6839 for instructions on sending it back.
All other Kotex tampons, including Natural Balance Security tampons that don’t contain the affected SKU or lot numbers, are safe to use.
Sora Song is the editor of TIME Healthland. Find her on Twitter at @sora_song. You can also continue the discussion on TIME Healthland’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIMEHealthland.