E. Coli Outbreak Causes Closure of 43 Chipotle Restaurants So Far…


*Uh oh. A friend and I just ate there yesterday. Come to think of it, I treated her to lunch. Better put 911 on standby.

And contact an attorney just in case she gets sick and decides to sue ME!

The popular Chipotle chain (my favorite!) has closed 43 of its restaurants in the Oregon and Washington areas after 22 cases of E. coli surfaced and were reportedly linked to them.

A statement by the Washington State Department of Health says no deaths have been attributed to the outbreak, but eight of the cases have resulted in hospitalization. The statement also said that “local and state health officials in Washington and Oregon are investigating” the outbreak to determine the exact source of contamination.

Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle, said although the outbreak was only linked to six of the company’s restaurants in the area, the closure of 43 was initiated as more of a safety measure.

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our highest priority,” Arnold said. “After being notified by health department officials in the Seattle and Portland, Oregon, areas that they were investigating approximately 20 cases of E. coli, including people who ate at six of our restaurants in those areas, 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 told NBC News there is no definite date for the reopening of those restaurants, but does say it will be “driven by the progress of the investigation.”

“We are working with health department officials to determine the cause of this issue, says Arnold. “We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this situation.”

E. coli symptoms can be diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, among other illnesses, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say most strains of E. coli are harmless.

“Anyone who thinks they may have become ill from eating at a Chipotle restaurant in the past three weeks should consult their healthcare provider,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist said in the Washington State Department of Health’s statement. “The elderly and very young children are more likely to become severely ill from this kind of E. coli infection.”


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