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CDC Now Investigating Chipotle E. Coli Outbreaks

Many news reports have shown that the number of people infected with E. coli after visiting Chipotle restaurants in Oregon and Washington has increased.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with the Washington State Department of Health and the Oregon Health Authority in order to identify the roots of this outbreak.

So far, 39 people have been reportedly sickened after eating at Chipotle restaurants in the region. The strain they carry is known as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 (STEC O26). In the two states, 14 people were hospitalized as a result.

According to state health authorities, consumers who fell ill likely visited different Chipotle restaurants several times before they started feeling the symptoms.

CDC says that consumers shouldn’t believe that other Chipotle locations were also affected.

So far, health officials are only trying to determine whether the infection was initiated because of one ingredient that had been contaminated or an entire meal. According to the Mexican grill chain, the source of the infection hasn’t been discovered yet.

After the company was linked to the several cases of E. coli illnesses, Chipotle closed 43 restaurants in Oregon and Washington. The company claims that the restaurants won’t be opening until the investigation has been finalized.

CDC uses PulseNet, a network that helps to track foodborne illnesses in its investigation. According to experts, this system helps to identify whether there are other consumers who fell ill due to to exposure to the same strain of E. coli.

Consumers who visited Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon and who are experiencing E. coli symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, and vomiting should visit a doctor immediately to get tested. The CDC is working with state and other local partners to track tests that show consumers were exposed to the same type of bacteria.

E. coli can be harmless, but to some consumers with weakened or compromised immune systems, the organism may prove life-threatening.

Consumers who believe they were exposed tot he bacteria while at a Chipotle restaurant should seek help from doctors and from an attorney if the test comes out positive. Ignoring the illness and exposure to the contaminated products means that you’re allowing major companies to ignore consumer safety in order to put profits ahead of their customers.

For more information on how CDC plans to find the root of these outbreaks, follow this link to read the full report.

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