Just a few weeks after 100 employees and customers at a Simi Valley, CA Chipotle restaurant were sickened with norovirus, Minnesota health officials are reporting a Salmonella Newport outbreak affecting dozens who ate at some 17 restaurants state-wide.
Forty-five (45) cases of Salmonella Newport infection have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) since Wednesday, Sept. 2. Since many cases of salmonellosis do not seek health care and get tested, the number of ill people that are part of this outbreak is likely to be larger than the identified number of cases.
The investigation to date has found that the 45 cases were all infected with Salmonella Newport bacteria that have matching or very similar DNA fingerprints. Of the 34 people who have been interviewed to date, 32 ate or likely ate at 17 different Chipotle restaurant locations. Most of the restaurant locations are in the Twin Cities metro area, with one in St. Cloud and one in Rochester. Their meal dates range from Aug. 16 to Aug. 26 and they became ill between Aug. 20 and Aug. 29.
The Minnesota cases range in age from 15 to 67 years and are from eight metro and greater Minnesota counties; 56 percent are male. Five cases have been hospitalized; all are recovering.
The investigation is ongoing as health officials try to pinpoint the specific food item source of the outbreak.
Investigators are confident that ongoing transmission at Chipotle as part of this outbreak has ended. Chipotle has changed the source of the suspect produce item under investigation.
“Chipotle has been extremely proactive in collaborating with investigators to quickly control the outbreak and identify its source,” said Dana Eikmeier, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit of MDH.
The Chipotle locations involved to date are 7 Corners (Minneapolis), Bloomington, Calhoun, Crystal, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Richfield, Ridgedale, Rochester, Shoreview, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul Lawson, Uptown, and US Bank Plaza (Minneapolis). However, it is possible that other locations in Minnesota could have been affected as well. At this time there is no indication that locations outside of Minnesota are involved.
Approximately 700 cases of salmonellosis are reported each year in Minnesota. Of note, there is a separate ongoing Salmonella outbreak investigation in Minnesota associated with cucumbers that was publicized last week. That outbreak was not related to Chipotle.