Two more people have filed federal lawsuits against Chipotle after they said they were infected with E. coli in an outbreak linked to the popular Mexican chain in the Pacific Northwest.
The Seattle attorney representing Jessica Ellis of Mount Vernon, Washington, and Chris Collins of Lake Oswego, Oregon, is asking the federal court in Portland to hold Chipotle liable for their illnesses, reported The Associated Press on Friday.
There are at least 41 people on the list of cases spanning two states — 28 in western Washington and 13 in Oregon's Portland area. The latest case was confirmed in Oregon on Friday.
More than 40 Chipotle restaurants across the two states have been shuttered for the past week as food safety investigators and health officials try to determine the cause of the outbreak.
Chipotle has been cooperating with the probe, and said it is retaining two consulting firms to help "assess and improve" its food safety standards.
Oregon health officials said this latest outbreak strain is E. coli O26, and is from some type of fresh produce served at the chain — possibly lettuce, tomatoes, salsa or cilantro.
E. coli affects the intestines and can lead to cramping, severe diarrhea, vomiting and even death.
Washington state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist said they've identified the DNA fingerprint in 17 of the cases, which will help officials learn the source. He said they are expecting final food testing results on Monday.
Collins, 32, has told The Associated Press that he ate a Chipotle chicken bowl with brown rice, black beans, tomato salsa, cheese and guacamole on the side. He said he missed nearly two weeks of work after falling ill.
Ellis, 28, had a chicken burrito bowl at a Chipotle restaurant in Burlington, Washington, on Oct. 22, her attorney, Bill Marler, told The Associated Press.
While at work on Oct. 28, she began to experience gas and bloating which progressed to sharp pains, the suit said. After her diarrhea became bloody, she went to the Skagit Regional Urgent Care Clinic. Within days, she ended up in the emergency room.
Ellis missed six days of work and had to change her plans to visit Hawaii, the suit said.
Marler said he's been retained by about a dozen other people who became sick after eating at Chipotle. Two of those people are children, aged 8 and 14, he said. They were hospitalized at a Seattle children's' hospital for about a week, he said.
Another Washington woman, Charmaine Mode, filed a lawsuit against the company on Tuesday in U.S. District Court. She said she got sick after eating a burrito bowl in a Chipotle restaurant in Vancouver, Washington.