April 15, 2024

E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter Sickens 29

The CDC has announced that the E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter has grown again. Now 29 people in 12 states have been sickened in this outbreak. That is an increase of six people since the last update on March 21, 2017.

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter E coli Outbreak 33017

Three more states are now included in the count: Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Twelve patients have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so serious. Two of the newly sickened have been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, which brings the total with HUS in this outbreak to nine. No deaths have been reported to date.

The case count by state is: Arizona (4), California (5), Florida (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), Oregon (9), Virginia (2), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (1). Illness onset dates range from January 4, 2017 to March 13, 2017. The patient age range is from 1 to 57, with a median age of 8. Twenty-four of the 29 ill people are younger than 18. Fifty-nine percent of the patients are male.

Illnesses that began after March 7, 2017, may not yet be reported because it takes time between when a person gets sick and when they see the doctor, are tested, and their illness is reported to public health officials. This usually takes two to three weeks.

In interviews, ill persons or their family members answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures the week before they became ill. Twenty one, or 75%, of people reached for interviews either ate I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter at home (15 people), attended a facility that served I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, or attended a childcare center that served I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter and I.M. Healthy brand granola coated with SoyNut Butter (4 people).

The state laboratory of California identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in containers of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter collected from retail locations. And that product was collected from the homes of sick people in California, Oregon, and Washington; lab testing identified STEC O157:H7 in opened containers of the SoyNut Butter.

On March 7, 2017, the SoyNut Butter Company recalled all varieties of the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters and all varieties of I.M. Healthy Granola products. The recall was expanded on March 10, 2017, to include Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter. And the recall was expanded again on March 23, 2017 to include 20/20 Lifestyle Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars.

The CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, and childcare centers, schools, and other institutions for not serve any variety or size of I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, I.M. Healthy brand granola, Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter, or 20/20 Lifestyle Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars, regardless of the date of purchase or the date listed on the container. Even if some of the product was consumed and no one got sick, throw it away in a sealed container. E. coli bacteria can cluster in microscopic clumps in a product. And it only takes 10 bacteria to make you very sick.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe abdominal and stomach cramps and pain, diarrhea that may be watery and/or bloody, and a mild fever. If the patient is under the age of 5, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) may develop. That can cause kidney failure and death. The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, pale skin, a rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully helps and represents people hurt by contaminated food throughout the country. Its attorneys have won hundreds of millions of dollars for foodborne illness survivors and their families, including the largest verdict in American history for a person harmed by E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The firm also publishes Food Poisoning Bulletin, a respected Google News source for food safety news and information.  Pritzker Hageman lawyers are often interviewed as experts on the topic by major news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the firm represents people harmed by pathogenic microorganisms in Legionnaires‘ disease, surgical site infections, and product liability cases. 

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