After a week-long stay battling an E. coli infection from a contaminated Chipotle meal, a 14-year-old girl from Lake Oswego, Oregon has been released from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Josie Everett, 14, is still taking strong pain medication after suffering excruciating abdominal pains from the infection, her mother told Fox 12 News.
Josie ordered a chicken bowl from the Chipotle off Kruse Way in Lake Oswego. Five days later she developed symptoms of an E. coli infection including sharp stabbing pains in her abdomen, fever and bloody diarrhea. She is one of 12 people in Oregon who are part of a two-state outbreak linked to Chipotle food contaminated with shiga-toxin producing E.coli O26. Twenty nine people in Washington have also been sickened.
The case patients, who range in age from 1 to 67, ate at a number of different locations. Investigators are still trying to determine which ingredient was contaminated. Health officials say produce items are among the suspects including lettuce, onions, avocados, cilantro, onions, peppers and other ingredients in salsa.
On Monday, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Washington woman who ate a burrito bowl from a Vancouver location on October 21. She began experiencing symptoms of an E. coli infection about three days later.
Shiga toxins cause serious illness by damaging red blood cells. In some cases, this can trigger a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which leads to kidney failure. HUS, which most often affects children, can also cause seizure, stroke, coma and death.
Federal authorities have been collaborating with state and local officials on the investigation of the outbreak. If they are able to identify which ingredient was tainted, they question will become how. There are many points from field to fork where contamination can occur.
For Josie’s mom, that’s a cause for concern. “We have a right as consumers to be safe and not worry about this,” she told Fox 12.