E. coli outbreak shows up in Arizona child care centers

Posted at 11:20 AM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 20:25:46-05

Officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli that has shown up at Arizona child care centers.

The Arizona Department of Health Services said they are working with federal and local partners to investigate four cases of E. coli that appears to be linked to products from “The SoyNut Butter Company.”

Dr. Cara Christ, director of Arizona Department of Health Services, says some of the victims were hospitalized but all have since recovered.

Officials are asking consumers to avoid eating “I.M. Healthy” brand soynut butter.

Individuals with symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping should seek medical attention if they develop bloody diarrhea or cannot drink enough fluids to keep hydrated," said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Health officials say there's 13 cases reported in five states.

People who have purchased the product are being advised to stop serving it immediately.

The Arizona State Public Health Laboratory has confirmed all four cases of the outbreak became ill on or after January 16, 2017 after eating the mentioned products. 

"We know we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg with these four people," Christ said. "Not everyone with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea goes to see their physician." 

According to officials, the multi-state investigation shows most people impacted by this outbreak are children. At least six people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

The names of the child care centers in Arizona have not been released due to public health regulations.

State health officials are advising the public to practice safe food handling to prevent cross contamination.