A Montessori school in Snohomish County has been closed temporarily after two preschoolers were hospitalized with dangerous E. coli infections and more than 60 staff and fellow students may have been exposed.
A Snohomish County Montessori school has been closed temporarily after two preschoolers were hospitalized with dangerous E. coli infections, and more than 60 students and staff were potentially exposed to the bacteria.
Two girls under age 5 who went to the Monroe Montessori School were infected with E. coli, Snohomish Health District officials said Wednesday. One child has hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause kidney failure. Other students and staff are being tested for infection.
Identifying the source of such E. coli infections can be difficult, but the children may have been exposed to livestock near their home, said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Snohomish Health District. Livestock and petting zoos are frequent causes of such infections, he said.
“The school has been cooperating fully and as we work with families and improve existing policies and procedures to prevent these incidents from happening in the future,” Goldbaum said.
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E. coli infections can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover quickly, but the infections can be dangerous, particularly to children younger than 5. Between 5 and 10 percent of those infected can develop complications, such as kidney failure.