E.Coli Outbreak Leads Chipotle to Close 43 Locations

E.Coli Outbreak Leads Chipotle to Close 43 Locations (Getty)

An outbreak of the food-borne illness E. coli has led Chipotle to voluntarily shut down 43 of its stores across two states.

At least 22 had been sickened as of Sunday morning in an outbreak health officials say could be linked to the casual burrito chain.

Nineteen of the cases were reported in Washington State. The other three were in the Portland, Oregon area.

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According to the Washington State Department of Health, seven of the Washington patients were hospitalized. One patient in Oregon was hospitalized.

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

Infectious E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. IN some instances, it can be fatal.

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"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 to Associated Press.

Washington officials said that 17 of the 19 who got sick had eaten at a Chipotle. While they said the restaurants were likely the source of the E. coli, no individual food item had been identified as the culprit.

Samples have been collected and the investigation is ongoing.

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