Update: AP now reports that Washington and Oregon health officials are investigating an E. coli outbreak linked to six Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon, health officials said Saturday. Three people in the Portland area and at least 19 people in Washington have become sick after eating at the Mexican food chain since Oct. 14. According to the Oregon Health Authority, people in Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon, and Clark, King, Skagit and Cowlitz counties in Washington have reported symptoms of infection. One-third of those sickened have been hospitalized, but no one has died from the infection. Those affected are between ages 11 and 64. Chipotle officials said Saturday morning that the company was working with health officials to figure out what caused the outbreak: “After being notified by health department officials in the Seattle and Portland areas that they were investigating approximately 20 cases of E. coli, including people who ate at six of our restaurants in those areas, we immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems. We are working with health department officials to determine the cause of this issue. We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this situation.” Previous coverage follows: The Skagit Valley Herald reports that the Skagit County Department of Public Health announced Friday that it has closed Chipotle Mexican Grill in Burlington, WA, pending an investigation of several E. coli infections among recent diners. http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-chipotle-restaurant-chelsea-new-york-mexican-grill-chain-more-than-restaurants-around-world-image39039407Of five cases under investigation since Oct. 15, four individuals were hospitalized, according to a health department news release. Results of specimens sent to the state health lab for analysis are expected early next week. The Department of Public Health advised those who have had close contact with someone ill with symptoms of E. coli infection to see a doctor. Symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)