Oregon, Washington probe E. coli cases linked to Chipotle, Mexican shit in the food again.

From: Tyler ([email protected])

SEATTLE -- An investigation was underway Saturday in an E. coli
outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and
Oregon, health officials said.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in Washington
became sick after eating at the Mexican food chain since Oct.
14, the Oregon Health Authority said.

No deaths have been reported and eight people have been
hospitalized.

"While the outbreak appears to be linked to food served at
Chipotle restaurants, the food or other source of contamination
hasn't yet been determined and remains under investigation," the
Washington Department of Health said in a statement.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. spokesman Chris Arnold said the
safety and well-being 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.

The Denver-based company said 43 Chipotle sites have been closed
in the two states. Chipotle operates more than 1,700 restaurants
in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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

Health officials in Washington said 17 of 19 of those who got
sick in the state ate at Chipotle. They said food at the
restaurants is likely the source of the infection but that no
individual food item has been identified. Food samples have been
collected and will be tested.

Jonathan Modie, a spokesman with the Oregon Health Authority,
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.

There are hundreds of E. coli and similar bacteria strains in
the intestines of humans. Most are harmless, but a few can cause
serious problems.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, abdominal
cramps, nausea and vomiting. Health officials say the best
defense against the bacterial illness is to thoroughly wash
hands with soap and water.

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