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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration, and public health officials in several states are continuing to investigate an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 (STEC O26) infections. As of Dec. 2, 2015, 52 people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 have been reported from nine states; 20 ill people have been hospitalized. There have been no reports of hemolytic uremic syndrome and no deaths.
Seven more ill people have been reported from California (1), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Washington (1) since the last update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two of these illnesses started in October, and five started in November 2015. CLICK HERE for a case count map from the CDC.
Of the three most recent illnesses reported in November, only one ill person, whose illness started on Nov. 10, reported eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill in the week before their illness began. The investigation is still ongoing to determine what specific food is linked to illness.
The majority of illnesses have been reported from Washington and Oregon during October 2015.
The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak. Forty-seven (90 percent) of 52 ill people interviewed reported eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in the week before their illness started. 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.
Investigators are 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, 21 STEC O26 isolates from ill people in Washington (16), California (2), Minnesota (2), and New York (1) were found to be highly related genetically to one another.
CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill persons and to interview them. Consumers should contact a healthcare provider if they recently became ill with diarrheal symptoms after eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant.