And just like that, everyone’s lunch plans have changed.
Our favorite Mexican kinda-sorta-fast-food-restaurant Chipotle is closing down 43 of its restaurants in Oregon and Washington after 22 cases of E. Coli were linked to the popular spot.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, eight of those cases have led to patients being hospitalized. Since Oct. 14, three people in Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon have also fallen ill.
“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,” Jonathan Modie, the Oregon Health Authority spokesman, said in a statement. “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.”
The illness has affected people from the ages of 11 to 64.
Unfortunately, Chipotle has had several issues over the past few months. In August, 22 Minnesota Chipotle restaurants were the source of a salmonella outbreak that caused diarrhea, fever and cramping. Forty five cases were reported, and health officials say tomatoes were the culprit. Also in August, 82 customers and 17 employees at a Chipotle in Simi Valley, California became ill from norovirus infections.
The company is facing lawsuits from both situations.The Oregon and Washington cases reported so far have come from six restaurants, but the 43 restaurants closing come from an abundance of caution.
“The vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems. We are working with health department officials to determine the cause of this issue. We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this situation,” said spokesman Chris Arnold in a statement.