Chipotle Mexican Grill, which battled a public relations nightmare in 2015 after it had to close several stores due to an E. coli outbreak, has closed a store in Virginia after patrons got sick.
The company closed its Sterling, Va., store after reports of some customers getting ill, the Virginia Health Department confirmed. The illness reports first surfaced on a website called iwaspoisoned.com, a forum where consumers report food that made them sick.
"Our whole family ate at Chipotle in Sterling on Friday evening 7/14 and became sick Sunday into Monday with vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal pains, fevers," one posting on the site says. "This aggravated our diabetic son and our celiac son's previous conditions."
Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department, said the agency was investigating the outbreak, which he said appeared to be restricted to the Chipotle outlet in Sterling.
"We're not aware of any other complaints of food-borne illness in our area," he told ConsumerAffairs, adding that it was too early to determine the specific cause of the outbreak.
The company spokesman said the symptoms appear to be consistent with norovirus and that the outbreak appears isolated to the single store and is not related to the food supply. He said the store will be sanitized and reopened.
According to the Mayo Clinic, norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, malaise, low-grade fever, and muscle pain. The clinic staff says noroviruses are highly contagious and come from the feces of infected humans and animals.
In the fall of 2015 Chipotle temporarily closed a number of stores in several states after reports of customers getting sick.