The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 (STEC O26) infection in Washington and Oregon that has been linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants.
At least 50 cases of illness have been reported and 33 have been confirmed as being infected by the same strain of STEC O26. There have been 14 hospitalisations associated with the outbreak, but no reported cases of haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or deaths.
The investigation has found that most of the confirmed cases ate at one of 11 different locations of the Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain in Washington and Oregon before becoming sick. A number of restaurants were closed in response to the investigation, but have since reopened following implementation of recommended food safety actions.
Investigators are now trying to identify common meal items or ingredients eaten by those affected to determine the source of the outbreak. To date all laboratory tests for STEC O26 have been negative but additional results are expected soon.
More details about the investigation can be found here.