When it rains it pours for the restaurant chain. Just as it appeared the multistate Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 (STEC O26) was slowing with health officials seeing only one additional case since Dec. 4, a new outbreak caused by a different, rare DNA fingerprint of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 (STEC O26) linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill has sickened five in three Midwest states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that five people have been reported with the new variant of STEC O26 from a total of three states: Kansas (1), North Dakota (1), and Oklahoma (3). The Kansas and North Dakota cases ate at the same restaurant in Kansas. The three separate Oklahoma cases all ate at the same Chipotle restaurant.
The other outbreak, first reported on in early November, increased by one case from Pennsylvania, bringing the total 53 people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 reported from 9 states. 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 both outbreaks.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the CDC and state and local health officials are investigating two separate outbreaks of E. coli O26 infections that have been linked to food served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states.
The FDA continues to work with Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants as well as federal, state and local agencies to gather information about the supply chain(s).