FOLLOWUP: Health experts still trying to trace ‘exact source’ of Chipotle E. coli illnesses; no cases linked to West Seattle location so far, state says

For the first time since word of E. coli illnesses led to the voluntary closure of Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon, the state has identified which locations are linked to confirmed cases.

The list just made public does NOT include the West Seattle location (which opened at 4730 California SW in The Junction less than two months ago). The 25 patients confirmed so far in this state reported eating at five Chipotle restaurants identified by the state as:

Hazel Dell, 7715 NE 5th Avenue, Suite 109, in Vancouver
1404 Broadway Avenue and 4229 University Way NE in Seattle
512 Ramsey Way 101 in Kent
1753 S. Burlington Blvd. in Burlington

Earlier this afternoon, the state hosted a media briefing from its laboratory facility in Shoreline; a little far for us to go today, so we were among several organizations who participated via a phone/Web hookup.

They confirmed it’s Shige toxin E. coli, which can “cause kidney damage among other serious problems.”

Our state has 25 patients “associated with this outbreak” – nine of whom have been hospitalized, though none with the illness that can lead to kidney damage – and Oregon has 12.

The Washington patients all live in the western part of the state – 11 in Clark County, 2 in Cowlitz, 2 in Island, 6 in King County, and 4 in Skagit County.

“The exact source of illness is still unknown,” but 23 of the 25 WA patients reported eating at a Chipotle. They are still trying to identify “a common food item” – more likely, they say, to be produce than meat. They’re testing samples from multiple restaurants and hope to have results later in the week. They also are awaiting tests on 20 people who reported getting sick after eating at a Chipotle but have not been confirmed as E. coli patients.

Health authorities still don’t know when the Chipotle stores, closed voluntarily, will reopen, but they are working with the chain to “identify criteria” for reopening. They still want people who became ill after eating at a Chipotle recently to consult their health-care provider.

6 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Health experts still trying to trace 'exact source' of Chipotle E. coli illnesses; no cases linked to West Seattle location so far, state says"

  • Trickycoolj November 3, 2015 (6:16 pm)

    I hope they figure out the source soon and whether the supply chain is limited to Chipotle or if it extends to other businesses/grocers. I recall several years ago tomatoes were accused, then salsa and finally weeks later the actual culprit was jalapeños that had been contaminated from irrigation. I still wonder if the week long digestive bug I had at the time was E. coli. Similar to the big outbreak in Germany recently salads and produce were all considered contaminated until they finally traced contaminated sprout seeds to one farm in Egypt.

  • jetcitydude November 3, 2015 (8:57 pm)

    Not to hurt anyones feelings here, but I have supported the local Mexican eatery across the street from Chipotle in the Junction for fifteen years now. The food is way better there. Just my opinion and I won’t go anywhere else when it comes to Mexican cuisine in the Junction.

  • Villagegreen November 3, 2015 (9:42 pm)

    Jetcitydude, same here.

  • JayD November 3, 2015 (10:45 pm)


    Surely not the one that was willingly purchasing stolen liquor and reselling it to customers? That fine, upstanding establishment?

  • concerned November 4, 2015 (8:30 am)

    Here’s a notice we got at work in regards to any of our customers concerns on this and of course I’ve X’d out our name to protect the innocent!

    November 3, 2015

    This letter is to help respond to customers who may call in asking questions about Chipotle voluntarily closing 43 restaurants in Washington and Oregon. Six of the restaurants have been linked to a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreak that has sickened at least 22 people in this region.

    This is the information to give the customer:

    XXX’s Produce does NOT service this restaurant group and therefor has no connection with this outbreak that is under investigation by the FDA and public health officials.

    If you have any questions on this matter feel free to visit our web site click on
    News and at the bottom of the drop-down box click on Product Recalls and then click on “Click Here for
    the latest updates on Outbreak information issued by the FDA.

    Thank you for calling.


    Director of Food Safety

  • James Conrad November 4, 2015 (9:26 pm)

    I wonder if the fact that they use organic produce has anything to do with the fact that they are getting people sick all over the country this summer. Maybe organic farming is letting these little bugs survive and make the consumers (possibly) sick, I like the idea of eating organic, but there seems to be a pattern here that should be explored further.

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