Authorities say that there are 37 confirmed cases of E. coli in Oregon and Washington, with Chipotle closing down restaurants in Washington State. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: There are 37 confirmed E. coli food poisoning cases in Oregon and Washington, state officials said on Tuesday, with possible links to Chipotle Mexican Grill. Washington State Health Office Dr. Kathy Lofy told a news conference, "the exact source of illness for this outbreak still remains unknown, what we do know is that 23 of the 25 outbreak patients (in Washington State) reported eating at a Chipotle restaurant prior to illness." Chipotle, which is grappling with its third food safety incident this year, has closed 43 restaurants in and around Seattle and Portland because of the E. coli O26 outbreak. Investigators are searching for the source of the contamination and suspect it involves fresh produce. Health officials have urged anyone who ate at a Chipotle in the two states between Oct. 14 and Oct. 23 and suffered vomiting and bloody diarrhea to see their healthcare provider. A Chipotle representative declined to comment, saying the company does not discuss pending legal actions. Company shares closed down 1 percent at $623.16 on Tuesday. They touched their lowest level since July a day earlier due to fears the food-borne illness could steer diners away from Chipotle's more than 1,900 restaurants across the United States.