Chipotle at the center of several cases of E. Coli in Washington and Oregon

Lucas Ryan, Staff Writer

At least 35 people have been infected with E. Coli in Oregon and Washington and it has been connected to the Mexican restuarant, Chipotle.

There were two other cases of E. Coli infection in the surrounding areas but those are not linked to Chipotle.

This past Tuesday the company stated that only 8 restaurants caused concern but they temporarily closed 47 stores for deep cleaning and sanitization,  testing environmental variables and the food itself, and checking their distributors.

“The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority,” said Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle, “We work with a number of very fresh ingredients in order to serve our customers the highest-quality, best-tasting food we can. If there are opportunities to do better, we will push ourselves to find them and enhance our already high standards for food safety. Our deepest sympathies go out to those who have been affected by this situation and it is our greatest priority to ensure the safety of all of the food we serve and maintain our customers’ confidence in eating at Chipotle.”

No fatalities have been reported from the sickness, but seven victims from Washington and three from Oregon have been hospitalized however.

A lawsuit was filed on Monday in the federal court in connection with the outbreak. Charmaine Denise Mode, a pharmacist from Kelso, Washington, ate at a Chipotle restaurant in Vancouver, Washington, on October 21 and began to feel nauseated four days later with “severe diarrhea,” according to the lawsuit against Chipotle. In the following days her symptoms became more severe and she eventually went to the hospital where she had “endured a painful rectal examination” The next day the suit linked her sickness to Chipotle and is suing for damages of upwards of $75,000

Chris Collins of Portland, Oregon, had gone to Urgent Care two days after eating at a Chipotle restaurant. “I’ve never gotten sick like this,” he told CNN affiliate. “The excruciating pain in my abdomen was something I’ve never experienced. It feels like your guts are being ripped out.” The urgent care center soon after sent him to a hospitals emergency room.

On Tuesday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, stated that he feels closing down the Chipotle locations was the right thing to do. “[It’s] always better to take broad action than narrow it down,” he said. “From what we understand so far, they are being very responsible in their actions in response to the cases that have been reported. ”

No exact source has been identified in this outbreak, but Dr. Kathleen Gensheimer, the FDA’s chief medical officer and director of outbreak response, said Chipotle “is sharing all of their records with us, working with us in any way possible to give us information.”