Forty-five people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 have been reported from 6 states. The majority of illnesses have been reported from Washington and Oregon. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: California (2), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (13), and Washington (26).
Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from October 19, 2015 to November 8, 2015. Ill people range in age from 2 years to 94, with a median age of 22. Fifty-eight percent of ill people are female. Sixteen (36%) people reported being hospitalized. There have been no reports of hemolytic uremic syndrome and no deaths.
This outbreak can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of people who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after October 31, 2015 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of E. coli Infection for more details.
CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill persons and to interview them.
CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and public health officials in several states are investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 (STEC O26) infections.
The epidemiologic evidence available to investigators at this time suggests that a meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants at several states is a likely source of this outbreak. The investigation has not identified what specific food is linked to illness. Chipotle Mexican Grill is assisting public health officials with understanding the distribution of food items served at locations where ill people ate and this work is ongoing.
State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to obtain information about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before their illness started. Forty-three (96%) of 45 people interviewed reported eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant. The investigation is ongoing to identify common meal items or ingredients causing illness.
Investigators are also using whole genome sequencing, an advanced laboratory technique, to get more information about the DNA fingerprint of the STEC O26 bacteria causing illness. To date, whole genome sequencing has been performed on STEC O26 isolates from 9 ill people in Washington and 1 ill person in Minnesota. All 10 isolates were highly related genetically to one another. This provides additional evidence that illnesses outside the Pacific Northwest are related to the illnesses in Oregon and Washington.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.