OHA confirms 12 E. coli cases, expected to rise

Chipotle restaurants remain closed in Ore., Wash.

A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in Seattle.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday confirmed that 12 cases of E. coli have been discovered around the state, with eight of them linked to Chipotle restaurants with the remainder likely linked, pending test results.

A sign seen on the door of a Portland Chipotle restaurant, November 1 2015. (KOIN)
A sign seen on the door of a Portland Chipotle restaurant, November 1 2015. (KOIN)

The outbreak also affected Washington state, where 25 people were infected by E. coli. Nine of those people were hospitalized.

All of the patients in Washington are in western Washington, with 11 of them in Clark County.

A total of 43 Chipotle restaurants in Oregon and Washington were closed on October 30 and remain closed.

Katrina Hedberg, an Oregon Public Health Officer, says that the Oregon Health Authority is working to find the cause of the outbreak. She says so far, it looks like the outbreak is limited to Chipotle restaurants in the Pacific Northwest.

The Oregon Health Authority believes the outbreak began October 7, but says it could have began earlier or later. The first case reported was someone who ate at a restaurant October 7.

The people diagnosed ate a range of foods, including meat and vegetarian dishes, likening the cause to be a fresh food put in all dishes at the restaurant.

The Oregon Health Authority believes the outbreak began on or around October 7

Oregon Public Health Officer Katrina Hedberg speaks about E. coli outbreak, November 3 2015. (KOIN)
Oregon Public Health Officer Katrina Hedberg speaks about E. coli outbreak, November 3 2015. (KOIN)

Officials are still working to discover which product is linked with the outbreak.

She expects more cases to be discovered in coming days, as the incubation period for the infection can be up to 10 days.

The majority of the cases in Oregon have been in the Portland metro area, however, Hedberg confirmed some cases have been reported in Columbia, Benton and Deschutes counties.

The strain of the E. coli cases in this outbreak is called O26, Hedberg explained. Some of the cases are still pending but she assumes they will all link back to O26.

Washington state health authority is expected to give an update later today on the status of the outbreak.

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