Nearly 40 People May Now Have Contracted E. Coli At Chipotle

Health officials said the number of E. coli cases in Washington state and Oregon continue to rise and most of the victims ate at Chipotle before they became ill.

The number of E. coli cases in the Pacific Northwest that may be linked to Chipotle has risen to 39, health officials said Wednesday.

Chipotle said over the weekend it was shutting nearly 50 stores in Oregon and Washington after officials announced people may have contracted the potentially fatal E. coli bacteria from their food.

Officials in Washington said Wednesday that the number of cases in their state had risen from 19 to 29. The officials said most of the people had eaten at Chipotle before they became sick. Eleven were hospitalized.

In Oregon, officials said the number of cases linked to eating at Chipotle had risen from three to 10.

There are likely more cases, officials said, because some people may have not sought medical treatment.

The health department said that if people come down with "vomiting and bloody diarrhea" after eating at a Chipotle in the area between Oct. 14 and 23, they should seek medical attention.

In response, Chipotle said Sunday it was temporarily closing all of its restaurants in the area.

Spokesman Chris Arnold told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the chain is doing so "out of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems."

"The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our highest priority," he said.

The closures will affect 43 stores, according to Q13 Fox.

Arnold added that Chipotle is working with health officials to try to figure out what happened.

"We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this situation," Arnold said.

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