Montessori preschool in NE Portland sees 4 cases of E. coli - KPTV - FOX 12

Montessori preschool in NE Portland sees 4 cases of E. coli

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Montessori of Alameda in northeast Portland (KPTV) Montessori of Alameda in northeast Portland (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story reported information from the school that the product in question was from Trader Joe's.  A representative from Trader Joe's says that they do not carry the brand at issue and no recall has been issued for their own brand of soy butter.

The Multnomah County Health Department is investigating four cases of E. coli infection at a preschool in northeast Portland.

The outbreak is centered on the Montessori of Alameda, where the health department has found three confirmed cases of E. coli O157 infection. The fourth case is confirmed for E. coli, while lab tests are still underway to determine the strain.

Of the three confirmed cases, two are children, and one child has been in the hospital since the symptoms began on March 2.

Tammy Kennedy, Executive Director of Montessori of Alameda, told FOX 12 that the product at the center of many of the recent E. coli reports is not served by the school, though families of students may serve it themselves.

Kennedy said it was unfortunate that E. coli can be found anywhere and anyone can be exposed, no matter how careful they are.

She noted the school has high expectations for safety, health and sanitation, and she said she had been in contact with the three families affected.

Health department officials said they believe the current risk to the public is low.

“We believe at this point, risk to the general public is low as we have no reported cases outside this location in Multnomah County,’’ Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis said. “We are communicating directly with parents at this school because of the serious nature of this disease.’’

The health department also noted that the exact cause of the outbreak is not known but that they are investigating to see if it is connected to the recall of the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter.

That product has been tied to 16 E. coli cases across the country, including the infection of two young siblings in Clackamas County.

Lewis advises anyone with the product to dispose of it immediately, warning consumers who have bought to products that "those are time bombs sitting on your shelf."

Officials say the toxins created by the infection can cause diarrhea which can be bloody, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea and vomiting and low-grade fever. Lewis advises parents that see any of these symptoms in their children to call their health care providers and notes that any children testing positive would have to go through additional testing before being allowed back in school.

For parents looking for more information, the Multnomah County Health Department Communicable Disease Services team can answer questions at 503-988-3406. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have more information on E. coli infections at CDC.gov.

For more on the recalled soy nut product, head to FDA.gov/Safety.

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