(Photo: punctuated /Flickr)
The E. coli outbreak connected to eating at 11 Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon is now being linked with E. coli cases in California, Ohio, New York, and Minnesota.
Chipotle explained in a press release that the number of cases connected with the Washington and Oregon outbreak has decreased from 50 to 37 cases as of Nov. 18. However, six cases in the four additional states were identified in which the E. coli strain matched that of the Washington and Oregon outbreak. Five of those six cases said they ate at Chipotle restaurants in:
- Turlock, California
- Akron, Ohio
- Amherst, New York
- Burnsville, Minnesota
Most of the people who fell ill after eating at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon ate there between Oct. 13 and Oct. 30. One third of those affected by the outbreak were hospitalized, though fortunately, no deaths have occurred.
Due to the outbreak, Chipotle closed 43 restaurants in Seattle and Portland on Oct. 31, and reopened them November after replacing all ingredients at the restaurants and doing a deep cleaning. Chipotle explains what exactly the company did at those stores in a statement:
Specifically, the company conducted deep cleaning at the restaurants that have been linked to this incident, replacing ingredients in those restaurants, changing food preparation procedures, providing all necessary supply chain data to investigators, and surveying employees to be sure none have had any symptoms of illness (note: no Chipotle employees in any states have been ill related to this incident). Similar actions are immediately being taken in response to these newly reported cases.
E. coli infection is a type of foodborne illness that causes symptoms of diarrhea, cramping, and dehydration, usually two to eight days after exposure. While most healthy people get over the illness on their own, infection with E. coli can be especially dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, as well as the elderly and young children.