Ohio Disease Outbreak Linked to Chipotle Restaurant

Officials are investigating whether food-borne bacteria or norovirus triggered the illnesses.

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About 180 people who ate at a Chipotle restaurant near Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, became sick with a gastrointestinal illness, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Health officials began investigating the outbreak after people started arriving at local emergency rooms complaining of diarrhea, nausea, and severe vomiting.

Many of those affected were Kent State students who had eaten burritos at the restaurant on Thursday and Friday. Some had donated blood and gotten a coupon for free food at the restaurant, according to WLWT, the Cincinnati NBC affiliate.

The cause of the outbreak could be food-borne bacteria—like salmonella—or a norovirus spread by a sick restaurant employee, health officials said. The restaurant chain reopened on Saturday with employees from other store locations, because of concern that a sick employee might be the source of the outbreak. The restaurant also replaced its food supply and sanitized all equipment, according to the Akron newspaper.

Results from testing of food and stool samples are expected in about five days and should help pinpoint the cause of the outbreak, the newspaper reports. Those who think they might have gotten sick after eating at the restaurant should seek medical treatment and call the Kent Health Department at (330) 678-8109.

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