Health

All Chipotle Restaurants In Oregon And Washington Closed Amid Suspected E. Coli Outbreak

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Chipotle Mexican GrillChipotle Mexican Grill

All Chipotle restaurants in the states of Oregon and Washington were reportedly closed on Oct. 31 while the Oregon Health Authority investigates multiple E. coli cases.

On Oct. 31, the Oregon Health Authority announced that since Oct. 14, three people in the Portland area and at least 19 people in the state of Washington have become sick after eating at a Chipotle restaurant, FOX 13 reports.

No deaths have occurred, but about one-third of the people who became ill have been hospitalized with the Shiga toxin-inducing E. coli bacteria, the most common in food-borne outbreaks, USA Today reports.

"Many people affected with Shiga toxin E. coli may not seek health care, so the number of people made ill by this outbreak is likely more than identified," Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie said in a statement, according to USA Today.

"Health officials want people who have eaten at a Chipotle between Oct. 14 and 23 and become ill with vomiting and bloody diarrhea to see their health-care provider and mention this outbreak," he added.

The outbreak has affected people between the ages of 11 and 64.

The areas in which symptoms have been reported are Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon, and Clark, Skagit, and Cowlitz counties in Washington, Modie said.

Chipotle closed all of its restaurants in the area upon being notified that people had become sick after eating at six locations “out of an abundance of caution even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems,” according to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. spokesman Chris Arnold.

A total of 43 restaurants have been closed, FOX 13 reports.

State officials did not require Chipotle to close the restaurants.

This is not the only food-safety problem Chipotle has faced recently, USA Today reports.

Twenty-two of the chain's Minnesota restaurants were found to be the source of a salmonella Newport bacteria outbreak in August. Also that month, 82 Chipotle customers and 17 employees at one restaurant in Simi Valley, California, fell ill with norovirus infections.

Chipotle is facing lawsuits from both incidents.

Sources: FOX 13, USA Today / Photo Source: Mike Mozart/Flickr (2)