April 11, 2024

Four Arizona Children Sickened with E. coli O157

Four children in Arizona are sickened with E. coli O157 infections that “appear to be linked” to soynut butter-containing products from “The SoyNutButter Company,” according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Health. The Arizona Department of Health Services is recommending that consumers avoid eating “I.M. Healthy” brand soynut butter and soynut butter-containing products.

E. coli Bacteria

Dr. Cara Crist, director of the department, said in a statement, “Our disease detectives are working on the state and local level to rapidly identify the source of this outbreak. As we determine suspected food sources that may be linked to E. coli, our state lab will test those products to determine if there’s a match.”

The four children who are sick in Arizona live in Maricopa and Coconino counties. This investigation is part of a larger multi-state investigation of 12 cases in five states. In Arizona, all of those sickened are children under the age of 5. Two of the children have been hospitalized for their illnesses. Each has recovered.

Fred Pritzker

Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “Little ones are most likely to develop HUS after an E. coli infection.” Call him toll free at 1-888-377-8900.

The Arizona State Public Health Laboratory has confirmed all four Arizona cases with the outbreak strain of STEC O157 bacteria. All of those sickened got ill on or after January 16, 2017 and reported eating soynut butter-containing products. The lab is testing samples to try to identify products that may be involve din this outbreak.

According to the Arizona news release, most of those sickened in this particular outbreak are young children. The median age is 7, with cases ranging in age from 2 to 48. About 43% of the cases are female. At least six have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The national investigation has also pointed to soynut butter-containing products as the source of this outbreak.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that can be bloody and/or watery, severe abdominal and stomach cramps, and a mild fever. Young children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system can be seriously sickened by this bacteria. Some can develop hemolytic uremic-syndrome (HUS) that can cause kidney failure and death.

Symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, pale skin, lethargy, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

The I.M. Healthy soynut butter and soynut butter-containing products are available for sale at retail stores in Arizona and are also available online. They have a long shelf life, and consumers may have these products in their homes. Do not eat these products until further notice.

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