The Chipotle E.coli outbreak now includes 25 cases in Washington and has spread to a fifth county in that state. Six new cases have been added since the outbreak was first announced on October 31. There are also 12 cases in Oregon.
The Washington State Department of Health is working with federal an local agencies on an investigation of the outbreak. They believe tainted produce may be behind the outbreak, but have not yet narrowed down the specific source.
The case patients range in age from 5 to 60. Nine of them have been hospitalized. By county, the case count is as follows: Clark (11), Cowlitz (2), Island (2), King (6), and Skagit (4).
Health officials urge anyone in Oregon or Washington who ate at a Chipotle between October 14 and October 23 and developed those symptoms to see a doctor and mention exposure to E. coli. Treatment with antibiotics is not recommended for E. coli infections and can make them worse, according to the CDC.
One of the outbreak strains identified so far is shiga-toxin producing E. coli O26. Shiga toxins cause severe illness by damaging red blood cells. A small number of people with these infections may develop a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which leads to kidney failure and can cause seizure, coma, stroke and death.
Chipotle has temporarily closed all 43 locations in Washington and Oregon. Health officials are working to establish criteria for reopening.