Chipotle may have to be ready to take a hit after 17 of its restaurants in Minnesota were linked to a Salmonella outbreak in the state, with dozens of people being infected.

In total, reports suggest that 45 people have been sickened, and investigators are not yet certain exactly what caused the outbreak. People being infected range in age from 15 to 67 years old, and five of these people have been hospitalized.

It's important to note that the outbreak is not linked to another Salmonella outbreak from cucumbers, with the two outbreaks being caused by different strains of the disease.

"Since being contacted by the Minnesota Department of Health regarding a possible connection to this issue, we have offered our full cooperation to assist in their investigation, and replaced our entire supply of the suspect ingredient in Minnesota to ensure that it continues to be safe to eat in our restaurants," said Chris Arnold, communications for Chipotle, in a statement.

Some 34 of the sickened people were interviewed, and of those people, 32 of them ate at one of 17 Chipotle locations in Minnesota. Thankfully, both Chipotle and health officials no longer believe that there will be any more transmissions from the restaurants based on the incubation period of the bacteria, which is up to a week after it is ingested. Salmonella symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after encountering the malicious microbes and the illness typically lasts about four days to a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

There is also no indication the outbreak has spread beyond Minnesota state borders, although information related to the outbreak has been entered into a national database in case more cases are found.

Health officials in Minnesota also noted that many cases of Salmonella go unreported and that anyone who suspects that they may have Salmonella should get tested. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and stomach pain, but in extreme cases the disease could cause blood stream infections, meningitis, or even death in the case of people with weakened immune systems. Those most likely to experience complications and severe illness include adults over 65, children under five and people who have weakened immune systems.

Via: ABC News

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