E. coli Outbreak Linked to Chipotle in Washington, Oregon

An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened at least 22 people. Nineteen people are sick in Washington and three are ill in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

E coli
E. coli bacteria like those above produce dangerous Shiga toxins, which can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal illness that causes kidney disease.

Eight of those patients have been hospitalized, but no one has died. The age range of patients is from 11 to 64 years old. The patients live in various counties in both states, including Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon, and Clark, Skagit, Craig, and Cowlitz counties in Washington state. Those sickened have eaten at six different Chipotle restaurants in those states.

Several food poisoning outbreaks have been linked to the Chipotle restaurant chain in the past. No one should get seriously ill just because they went out to dinner. Restaurants need to take responsibility for the health of their customers and be very aware of food safety standards and laws.

All of the Chipotle restaurants in a four-county region in Oregon have been voluntarily closed. And all of the Chipotle restaurants in Washington state have closed. Public health officials are investigating the outbreak, testing food samples, tracing food back to suppliers and sources, and taking environmental samples. Food workers are also being interviewed as part of the investigation.

The strain of E. coli in this outbreak produces Shiga toxins. That means the illnesses can be more serious, and some patients may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Shiga toxins get into the bloodstream and can damage red blood cells. Those damaged cells clog the glomeruli, the filtering system in the kidneys, and can cause kidney failure, strokes, seizures, and death.

Public health officials are worried that this outbreak could increase. E. coli infections are quite contagious and can pass from person to person. They are urging that anyone who ate at Chipotle restaurants in the Northwest between October 14, 2015 and October 23, 2014 and has experienced the symptoms of an E. coli infection see a doctor and mention this outbreak.

Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota were the source for a Salmonella food poisoning outbreak this summer. At least 45 people were sickened after eating at those restaurants. Our law firm is representing clients in that outbreak. Our law firm is one of very few in this country specializing in food poisoning lawsuits.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody and/or watery, a mild fever, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms usually begin 1 to 3 days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.

This illness can develop into HUS in some patients, especially children and those with compromised immune systems. The symptoms of HUS include pale skin, lethargy, easy bruising, a skin rash, and little to no urine output. If anyone has a diarrheal illness and is experiencing those symptoms, it’s critical to get to a doctor immediately.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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