October 18, 2017

Illnesses at Chipotle Mexican Grill in Sterling, Virginia

An outbreak of illness has sickened about 60 people after they ate at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Sterling, Virginia, according to the Loudoun County Health Department. Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the department, said, “one ill patron has tested positive for norovirus. This provides additional information but is not sufficient to determine the cause of the outbreak. The Health Department is awaiting further test results, which should be available early next week.”

Woman Stomach Ache

On Monday, July 17, 2017, LCHD was notified by the Chipotle Mexican Grill at 21031 Tripleseven Road, Sterling, VA 20165, and by local medical providers of customers complaining of nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea over the previous two days. The restaurant closed voluntarily. Health Department officials investigated the facility on July 18 and 19, 2017. The restaurant reopened on July 19, 2017.

Goodfriend added, “The Health Department is investigating this outbreak and is grateful for the information we are receiving from those who have been ill. We are working with Chipotle staff and patrons to identify the specific cause of the illnesses.No specific cause has been determined at this point. We are encouraged that those affected are starting to feel better and we are focused on preventing any new infections.”

The symptoms of norovirus include nausea and vomiting, along with stomach or abdominal cramps. This virus is extremely contagious. People get sick by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated with the pathogen, or through person-to-person contact or touching a contaminated surface. Most people recover on their own within a few days after this type of infection.

Anyone who ate at that location and has been experiencing the symptoms of norovirus is encouraged to contacts the Health Department at 703-771-5411. You can also visit the health department website for more information.

Chipotle has been plagued by food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. A Chipotle restaurant was closed because an employee tested positive for norovirus in March 2016. In late 2015, two E. coli outbreaks were linked to the restaurant chain. The first outbreak sickened at least 55 people in 11 states. The second E. coli O26 outbreak sickened five people in three states.  A norovirus outbreak at the Cleveland Circle Chipotle sickened 141 Boston College students in December 2015. Also in 2015, a Salmonella Newport outbreak at Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota sickened 64 people. That outbreak was linked to tomatoes.

Chipotle stock has been hit after news of all of these outbreaks were released to the public. Lawsuits have been filed, and the chain saw its customer numbers decrease.

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