Norovirus at Chipotle Sickens 120 Boston College Students, Basketball Team


Boston College basketball players and students reportedly contracted norovirus by eating at Chipotle. As of Dec. 9, more than 120 students are sick. (Photo: Alpha / Flickr)

Update 1:45 p.m. Dec. 9: The number of people sickened from a Chipotle location in Boston has climbed to more than 120, according to health authorities. The cause of the illness has been confirmed to be norovirus — not E. coli, which is responsible for the outbreaks in a number of other states.

Update 1 p.m. Dec. 8: More than 80 Boston College students have become ill with vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms after eating at Chipotle, according to school officials. The students, including members of the basketball team, are being tested for E. coli and norovirus. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is investigating the outbreak with the Boston Department of Public Health to determine its cause.

It’s been a tough couple of months for Chipotle. The popular burrito chain has been linked to E. coli outbreaks across the country. The latest outbreak Chipotle is being linked to: one in Brighton, Mass., in which 28 people — including numerous Boston College basketball players — have fallen ill.

Eight players have been infected with E. coli, a Boston College coach confirmed to the school’s newspaper, BC Interruptions, late on Monday, Dec. 7. Another source from Boston College told the paper earlier that 10 players on the team have “stomach issues.”

The college also sent a campus-wide email alert on Dec. 7, saying that numerous students contracted E. coli after eating at a nearby Chipotle.

The restaurant, located at Cleveland Circle in Boston, is temporarily closed; however, Chipotle denies that the current illnesses are linked to the previous outbreak of E. coli that affected numerous other states.

According to a statement from Chipotle: “We do not have any evidence to suggest that this incident is related to the previous E. coli incident. There are no confirmed cases of E. coli connected to Chipotle in Massachusetts.”

Video: Chipotle outbreak spreads.

In response to the alleged Chipotle-linked outbreaks, affecting more than 50 people in nine states (not including the recent news in Boston), Chipotle, according to a statement on its website, updated on Dec. 5, “is aggressively taking actions to implement industry leading food safety and food handling practices in all of its restaurants and throughout its supply chain.”

E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a group of bacteria found in foods, the environment, and even our intestines. While some strains are harmless, others can cause serious gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea. Contaminated food is one way that E. coli can be spread.

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