The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating five cases of E. coli tied to Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants, and three of those cases came from the same restaurant in Norman, Okla.
According to the CDC, this outbreak has a different DNA fingerprint than a larger outbreak earlier this year, but the same fingerprint as recent outbreaks in other states.
Laurence Burnsed, an epidemiologist with the State of Oklahoma State Department of Health said, “(A) Couple of other cases in Kansas and North Dakota that have test results that are similar to ours in regards to the fingerprinting so that would indicate that we have a cluster of cases that occurred back in November.”
That tells health experts the source of the E. coli probably lies within the food supply chain, not the individual restaurants.
Health officials believe that those who got sick ate at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants from November 18 to the 26.
“Symptoms can include diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools, severe abdominal cramping. Typically people will experience symptoms for five to ten days.” Burnsed said.
The CDC is trying to figure out what led to the contamination. A spokesman for Chipotle did release a statement saying that the chain is improving training for employees and testing for food, and that, "With all of these programs in place, we are confident that we can achieve a level of food safety risk that is near zero."
Customers of the Norman Store didn't seem very concerned.
“It seems like it’s a pretty safe, clean environment,” customer Payel Patel told us. “So we shouldn’t fear just because of a little bit of an outbreak.”
Customer Phillip Slocum agreed.
“It’s the second time I’ve eaten here in about a month and a half,” Slocum said. “I’ll come back. It’s good and as I said I’m not too concerned about the E. coli.”