Minnesotans love their Chipotle. During the 10-day period in August when Minnesota locations unknowingly stocked produce contaminated with Salmonella, they served 560,000 customers.
On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that a Salmonella outbreak linked to food served at Minnesota Chipotle restaurants has sickened 45 people. So far, illnesses have been linked to 17 locations. There are at least 60 Chipotle locations in Minnesota, according to the company’s website.
Because many cases of salmonellosis go undiagnosed, MDH said the number of those sickened is likely to be much higher and they are urging people who have become ill with symptoms of salmonellosis to see a health care provider and mention exposure to Salmonella at Chipotle.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, which usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure, include fever, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Typically, these symptoms last between four and seven days. In roughly 30 percent of cases, hospitalization is required.
The outbreak strain is Salmonella Newport. Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials are awaiting results on tests on produce items collected from affected locations. Those results should be available within the next few days.
All but two of the 17 affected restaurant locations are in the Twin Cities metro area. They are: Bloomington, Crystal, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Richfield, Ridgedale, Rochester, Shoreview, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul Lawson, and in Minneapolis 7 Corners, Calhoun, Uptown, and US Bank Plaza. Other locations may also be involved.
MDH investigators have interviewed 34 of the 45 confirmed cases. Of those, 32 reported eating at a Chipotle between Aug. 16 to Aug. 26 and becoming symptomatic between Aug. 20 and Aug. 29. The case patients range in age from 15 to 67 years and are from eight counties. Fifty six are male. Five were hospitalized but are recovering.
These illnesses are not part of the cucumber Salmonella outbreak which has sickened 341 people in 30 states. Seventy have been hospitalized, two have died.
That outbreak has been liked to cucumbers grown in Mexico and distributed by Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego. A recall for the cucumbers distributed from August 1 to September 3 has been issued. Twelve people in Minnesota are part of the cucumber outbreak, 10 of them contracted infections after eating salads containing contaminated cucumbers at Red Lobster.