Health officials investigate new salmonella cases linked to Chipotle restaurants
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota health and agriculture officials said Thursday a new strain of salmonella infection -- this one linked to eating at Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota last month -- is being investigated.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota health and agriculture officials said Thursday a new strain of salmonella infection - this one linked to eating at Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota last month - is being investigated.
Forty-five cases of the new Salmonella Newport strain have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health since Sept. 2. Five people have been hospitalized.
This strain is different from a separate ongoing salmonella outbreak investigation that was announced last week in Minnesota and other states that was associated with cucumbers from Mexico. That outbreak in Minnesota was related mostly to Red Lobster restaurants and involved 12 people.
An investigation into the food item source of the new Chipotle outbreak is continuing, but investigators said they are confident that the danger at Chipotle restaurants is over, said health department spokesman Doug Schultz. He said it’s thought to be a produce item, although the Minnesota Department of Agriculture works on that end of the investigation and hasn’t pinpointed the food item source yet.
In the meantime, Chipotle has changed the source of the suspect produce item under investigation by switching suppliers.
The new infection is Salmonella Newport, while the cucumber infection was Salmonella Poona. “It’s a different strain entirely,” Schultz said.
Most of the 17 Chipotle restaurants identified so far are in the Twin Cities metro area, with one in St. Cloud and one in Rochester. Their meal dates range from Aug. 16 to Aug. 26 and they became ill between Aug. 20 and Aug. 29.
“Chipotle has been extremely proactive in collaborating with investigators to quickly control the outbreak and identify its source,” said Dana Eikmeier, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit of MDH.
The Chipotle locations involved to date are in Bloomington, Crystal, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Richfield, Ridgedale, Rochester, Shoreview, St. Cloud and St. Louis Park, the Lawson location in St. Paul, and in Minneapolis, the 7 Corners, Calhoun, Uptown and US Bank Plaza locations.
It is possible that other locations in Minnesota could have been affected. There is no indication that locations outside of Minnesota are involved.
The previous case involving the Mexican cucumbers imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce resulted in 341 confirmed cases of the Salmonella Poona in 30 states, including one case reported Wednesday from Burleigh County in Bismarck. The company has issued a voluntary recall of those cucumbers.
Since many cases of salmonellosis do not seek health care and get tested, the number of ill people that are part of these outbreaks is likely to be larger than the identified number of cases, according to the department.
Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but they can begin up to a week after exposure.