A 13-year-old girl from Essex County who became sick in January is one of a dozen people from across the country who have gotten ill from E. coli, state and federal health officials said.

The outbreak is believed to be linked to I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

So far, there have been 12 reported cases in New Jersey, Maryland, Arizona, California and Oregon. All but one of the patients were minors. Six of them required hospitalization.

"CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, and childcare centers, schools, and other institutions do not serve, any I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter varieties and sizes, or I.M. Healthy brand granola coated with SoyNut Butter," the agency says.

"Even if some of the SoyNut Butter or granola was eaten or served and no one got sick, throw the rest of the product away. Put it in a sealed bag in the trash so that children, pets, or other animals can't eat it."

E. coli bacteria can produce toxins that cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea that can be bloody, vomiting and mild fever. Some people can improve within a week, but others risk life-threatening infections.

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