UPDATE: The first lawsuit related to Chipotle's recent E. coli outbreak was officially filed. According to Grub Street, the lawsuit came only one day after the chain was forced to close 43 restaurants as a result of the E. coli cases. A Washington woman filed the suit and claims she became ill after eating a burrito bowl.
Chipotle temporarily closed 43 restaurants in the states of Washington and Oregon after an E. coli outbreak this week. According to CNN, the closings were voluntary and out of an "abundance of caution" following 19 cases of E. coli reported in Washington and three additional cases in Oregon. All of these cases are reportedly connected to the Mexican food chain. "We immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems," Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said in a statement. The Washington State Department of Health reported that seven people in Washington and one person in Oregon were hospitalized in connection to this outbreak. No deaths have been reported. The source of contamination has yet to be determined, but Chipotle is "working with health departments to help determine the cause of the cases." E. coli bacteria, commonly found in human and animal intestines, is a key component of healthy digestion, but certain types of the bacteria can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. Those illnesses can sometimes result in severe, life-threatening illness and may be fatal. The Washington State Department of Health suggests that anyone who has become ill from eating at a Chipotle restaurant in the past three weeks consult their healthcare provider, warning that "the elderly and young children are more likely to become severely ill from this kind of E. coli infection."