According to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control, the Chipotle E. coli outbreak has spread into three more states — Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois — bringing the total number of affected states to nine. The number of confirmed infections has risen by seven, with two new ones reported from October, and five more in November, bringing the total number of people sickened to 52. According to the CDC's report, 47 of those 52 people said in interviews that they ate at Chipotle prior to falling ill.
The outbreak has been ongoing for the past few months — the first reports and warnings came in early November, when the CDC revealed that 22 people had been sickened with shiga toxin-inducing E. coli in Washington and Oregon. Before long, the agency revealed that the outbreak had expanded, with a total of 45 people infected across six states.
At present, the CDC hasn't identified what specific food item is the source of the problem, and its investigation is ongoing. It also says Chipotle has been cooperating with them in trying to identify the source of the problem.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is assisting public health officials with understanding the distribution of food items served at locations where ill people ate and this work is ongoing.
The fact that the outbreak has been linked to the eatery has reportedly hit the value of Chipotle stock, as Reuters detailed — the announcement by the CDC Friday, as well as a warning by the company that its fourth quarter sales could be down from eight to 11 percent, sent its stock value tumbling to $518 per share, a drop of eight percent. If that forecast is correct, it'd be unprecedented — they've been massively financially successful in recent years.
According to the Chicago Tribune, following the outbreak link, Chipotle announced on Friday that it will be working to improve their food safety practices by improving employee safety training, DNA testing their ingredients prior to shipping, and testing ingredients on the back-end of their shelf-life.
The CDC, for its part, has not actually advised the public not to eat at Chipotle, saying it will "advise the public if specific steps are identified that consumers can take to protect themselves." At present, none of the confirmed infections began in December, and only five have been reported in November, a point that Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold made Friday, as USA Today detailed.
While the CDC update includes additional cases, it’s important note that they (are) newly reported, but not really new. All of these date back to the mid-October to early-November timeframe and are just now making their way through the reporting process.
Chipotle stated back in late November that it did not plan to close any more locations, owing to the early November timeframe of the newly reported infections. The latest date of any of the confirmed infections, according to the CDC's data, is November 14th.