CALIFORNIA—Chipotle’s E. coli outbreak has reportedly caused 16 hospitalizations from 45 cases of illnesses across six states. No deaths have been reported, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
As of Saturday, November 21, Chipotle’s shares were down by more than 12 percent, a record low for the company.
The CDC reports that there have been two illnesses from California, two from Minnesota, one illness in New York, one in Ohio, 13 from Oregon, and 26 from Washington.
On Friday, November 20, the CDC reported that among people for whom information is available, illnesses started as early as October 19. Ages of the ill ranged from 2 to 94, and the female to male ratio skewed 58-42.
The outbreak was initially discovered in the Pacific Northwest region of Seattle, Washington, followed by Oregon, last month in October. More illnesses were later reported in Minnesota, California, New York, and Ohio, all but two victims claimed to have eaten Chipotle the same week of their reported illness.
On October 31, the chain temporarily closed 43 restaurants for several weeks in an effort to clean the facilities and replace the food. Chipotle representatives confirmed that the new food sources were being tested by safety consultants. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold stated, “At the moment, we do not believe that it is necessary to close any restaurants.”
The CDC is continuing their investigation, as the source of contamination is still unknown. According to investigation “the epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is likely the source of this outbreak.”
The CDC believes the illness is linked to one specific food item, and will “advise the public if specific steps are identified that consumers can take to protect themselves.” The CDC advises those experiencing diarrheal symptoms after eating Chipotle, to contact a health care provider.