Chipotle E. coli outbreak has spread to 6 states, cause still unknown

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Update: According to the Consumerist, the E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle has spread — a strain of bacteria was found in people who had eaten at the restaurant in six different states. 

Health officials are still investigating the E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon, but the new cases were found in four other states. See more details here.

Details about the outbreak

The original outbreak left 13 people sick in the Portland area, and at least 36 people sick in Washington — after eating at the Mexican food chain since Oct. 14, the Oregon Health Authority said.

No deaths have been reported and about one-third of the people have been hospitalized, agency spokesman Jonathan Modie said.

The food or other source of contamination has not yet been identified and remains under investigation.

Resturants in Washington state closed voluntairly until more information on the cause of the outbreak is released.

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Some types of E. Coli can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and vomiting.  Health officials say the best defense against the bacterial illness is to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water.

Read more: 4 food safety mistakes to avoid making at home

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. spokesman Chris Arnold said the safety and wellbeing of customers is always its highest priority.

He said Chipotle was notified by health officials that they were investigating E. coli cases that included people who became sick after eating at six restaurants.

‘We immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems,’ Arnold said in a statement.

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The company said 43 Chipotle sites were closed in Oregon and Washington following the original outbreak.

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Chipotle will work with health officials to determine when to reopen the restaurants and to find the cause of the problem, Arnold said.

Modie said many people may not see a doctor after becoming ill, so the number of people sickened in the outbreak is likely higher. People who become sick with vomiting and bloody diarrhea, and who ate at a Chipotle between Oct. 14 and 23 should see their health care provider, officials said.

People have reported symptoms of infection in Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon, and Clark, King, Skagit and Cowlitz counties in Washington, Modie said.

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In 2015, outbreaks of Norovirus, Salmonella, Hepatitis, Campylobacter, and E.coli have all been tied to the Mexican fast food giant’s restaurants in California, Ohio, and Minnesota. 



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