Federal authorities are investigating a new E. Coli strain linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been grappling with an outbreak that has affected over 50 people from nine different states.
To date, 29 STEC O26 isolates from ill people in 8 states were found to be highly related genetically to one another.
The CDC is currently investigating a rare DNA fingerprint of Shiga Toxin-producing E. Coli 026(STEC 026) that has made five people ill in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma. All five have reported eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant between November 18,2015 to November 26, 2015.
The CDC has been tracking this potential outbreak on their website.
Fifty-three people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 have been reported from 9 states. The majority of illnesses have been reported from Washington and Oregon during October 2015. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: California (3), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (2), and Washington (27).
Additionally, 5 people infected with a different, rare DNA fingerprint of STEC O26 have been identified in Kansas (1), North Dakota (1), and Oklahoma (3) and appear to be linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill. The infections started on dates ranging from November 18, 2015 to November 26, 2015. All five (100%) reported eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in the week before illness started. All 3 Oklahoma ill people ate at a single Chipotle location in Oklahoma, and the North Dakota ill person traveled to Kansas during their exposure period and ate at the same Chipotle location as the Kansas ill person. It is not known if these infections are related to the larger outbreak of STEC O26 infections; this investigation is ongoing. WGS is being used to determine if this strain is genetically related to the STEC O26 causing the larger outbreak.
This follows closely after 43 locations in Oregon and Washington were shut down due to E. Coli in October. Chipotle’s shares, which were previously highly sought-after, closed down 3.5 percent at $522.01 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.
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