Two of seven cases of E. coli O157:H7 at Montessori of Alameda school in Portland are genetic matches to the E. coli strain from the national I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter outbreak, according to Oregon’s Multnomah County Health Department. The seven cases include six children and an adult, all from one classroom in the school.
Four of the people are confirmed to have E. coli, O157:H7. Three additional people are known to have shiga-toxin producing E. coli and further test results are pending. The Health Department has been investigating diarrhea illnesses at the school since March 7, 2017.
I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter and I.M. Healthy granola was recalled nationwide on March 4, 2017 after 16 other people became ill in nine states, including Oregon. The Health Department is investigating how the SoyNut Butter E. coli strain was introduced into Montessori of Alameda.
“We are working closely with families, staff, and school administrators to stop the spread of this infection and understand how this outbreak happened,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multinomah County Deputy Health Officer. She added that if people have the recalled product still in their home, they should immediately throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased.
The bacteria causing the diarrhea, E. coli O157: H7 is the most severe type of Shiga-toxin E. coli. The bacteria also produces a toxin which can damage blood vessels throughout the body, particularly in the kidneys.
Most people become ill from E. coli eating contaminated foods which have not been fully cooked, but E. coli can also spread from person to person – especially in families and in childcare facilities. Symptoms include diarrhea which can be bloody, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea and vomiting and low grade fever. Since illness with E. coli O157:H7 can occur up to 10 days after exposure, it is possible that additional cases could occur.
The Health Department has been advising parents that any child sick with vomiting or diarrhea, should not attend school. Parents are advised to contact their healthcare provider with any questions regarding your child’s health. The Multnomah County Health Department Communicable Disease Services team can be reached at (503) 988-3406.
The Glenview, IL company recalled its product March 4 and expanded the recall March 7 because they were contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. I.M. Healthy Products were distributed in multiple states and may have been purchased in stores or through mail order. They were also distributed to childcare centers and schools in multiple states.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)© Food Safety News