Chipotle E. Coli Outbreak: What you need to know

BY MEGAN MAHEDY
Staff Writer

Recently, Chipotle had an alarming outbreak of the food-borne illness, E. Coli. The popular fast-food company was forced to close all of its restaurants in two states: Oregon and Washington.

According to health officials, there have been 37 reported cases.

“I feel very alarmed and somewhat scared about this outbreak, especially since this has been reported as the third outbreak in recent months,” SU junior Briana Tidwell said.

What is E. Coli?

E. coli is a bacterium found in the intestines of humans and other animals, where it usually causes no harm. However, contamination can occur with some strains that can cause severe food poisoning.

How does it spread?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, you can get E. coli infections by eating foods containing the bacteria. Symptoms of infection include:

​•​Nausea or vomiting

​•​Severe abdominal cramps

​•​Watery or very bloody diarrhea

​•​Fatigue

​•​Fever

How can I prevent getting sick?

To help avoid food poisoning and prevent infection, handle food safely. Cook meat well, wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them, and avoid unpasteurized milk and juices. You can also get the infection by swallowing water in a swimming pool contaminated with human waste.

What has Chipotle done?

Chipotle has closed 43 restaurants in Oregon and Washington. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold expresses that safety is a priority for the company. “We immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of restaurants have not reported any problems,” he said. According to the company, they are not closing restaurants in other states due to no indication of further contamination.

Who is sick and should I be concerned?

Valerie Case, a Salisbury University junior, expresses her opinion on safety “Since it was an isolated incident, and happened on the other side of the country, I feel safe eating Chipotle here in Maryland.” She said, “it would take a lot for me to stop eating Chipotle.” Due to the outbreak occurring specifically in Oregon and Washington, there has been no indication of contamination in other states.

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