Chipotle restaurants linked to illness outbreak

by Erica Shaffer
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MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to several Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. MDH has confirmed 45 cases of Salmonella Newport infections since Sept. 2. Five individuals were hospitalized, but all are recovering, MDH reported.

The public health agency said all the reported cases have matching or very similar DNA fingerprints. During its investigation, MDH found that 32 of 34 individuals ate at 17 different Chipotle restaurant locations, mostly in the Twin Cities metro area. One restaurant in St. Cloud, Minn. and one in Rochester, Minn. also were identified. Illness onset dates ranged from Aug. 20 to Aug. 29.

MDH and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are working to identify the source of the illnesses. Meanwhile, Chipotle changed the source of a “suspect produce item.” MDH noted that the outbreak linked to the Chipotle restaurants is not related to the current outbreak connected to cucumbers.

“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.
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