Health department confirms five more Chipotle e. Coli cases in July

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SEATTLE – Details emerged on Tuesday about another e. Coli outbreak at Chipotle earlier this year that had gone unreported.

The King County Dept. of Health confirmed that there were a handful of cases associated with Chipotle in late July. Five people got sick, two of whom were hospitalized.

The Oregonian reported that the cases were “essentially kept secret,” a characterization the health department vehemently disputed.

“In this July outbreak, we had a hard time contacting the people who became ill, so it delayed when we were able to make the connection to Chipotle,” spokesman James Apa wrote in an email to Q13. “By the time we knew, the outbreak was over, and there was nothing we could advise the public at that point. We did inform each of the cases that they were part of a cluster of illnesses that ate at Chipotle, although we could not confirm the actual source of infection. “

Apa wrote that Chipotle followed all steps recommended by the health department, and voluntarily did more as well.

Apa added that laboratory tests have confirmed the current outbreak, which has left 27 people sick, is a different strain than the July outbreak.

“In the end, despite our best efforts to identify a potential explanation for the illnesses in July, we didn’t have anything to point to for Chipotle to improve or do differently,” he wrote.

Chipotle began reopening its Washington stores on Tuesday.