The Multnomah County Health Department today said seven people have now been sickened by Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli) at Montessori of Alameda school in Portland. Six are children and one is an adult. All of the cases have occurred in one classroom.
Four of the people are confirmed to have E. coli, O157:H7 and two of these cases genetically match the E. coli strain from the national I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter outbreak. 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, Multnomah County Deptuty 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 Oregon Health Authority has verified that two confirmed cases of E. coli O157 infection are part of a national outbreak linked to a brand of soynut butter, and epidemiologists are advising consumers to discard the product immediately.
A total of 16 cases in nine states have been identified as part of the outbreak, which Oregon and the other states have been investigating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fourteen (88 percent) of these cases were under the age of 18; five (33 percent) cases resulted in HUS, a type of kidney failure and potentially life-threatening complication. In addition to the two Oregon cases, there were four in Arizona; four in California; and one each in Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The illnesses are associated with consumption of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and I.M. Granola, made by SoyNut Butter Co. of Glenview, Ill.
“People need to know that if they have this product in their pantries, they should immediately return it to the store where they bought it, or throw it out,” said Paul Cieslak, MD, medical director for the Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section at the OHA Public Health Division. “If they ate the product and are experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection, they should see their health care provider right away.”