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BC’s basketball team, other students sickened after eating at Chipotle

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

UPDATE 2:06 P.M.

NBC News is reporting that 80 Boston College students have been stricken with stomach ailments, and “all say they ate at a nearby Chipotle restaurant.”

However, a Chipotle spokesman said the food poisoning is not related to an E. Coli outbreak that sickened 52 people in nine states this fall.

“Health officials in Boston believe this is likely a norovirus, which seems consistent with the pattern, in our estimation,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told NBC News.

The Chipotle remains closed after an inspection showed that chicken used at the restaurant was being cooked at a too-low temperature and that an employee showed up to work while ill.

Norovirus and the E. Coli bacteria that cause illness manifest themselves similarly — diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever — but norovirus is more likely to cause vomiting, NBC News reports.

ORIGINAL POST

The Boston College men’s basketball team canceled practice on Monday after at least 10 players came down with stomach issues. One of the team’s coaches told BC Interruption that eight of those players were known to have E. Coli, and the school’s senior director of sports medicine warned BC’s athletes not to eat at a local Chipotle restaurant because of the E. Coli risk.

The school’s medical staff also sent out a campus-wide warning against eating at the local Chipotle after numerous BC students came down with E. Coli after eating at the restaurant, which was closed on Monday “for issues beyond our control,” an employee told the Boston Herald.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health told the Associated Press that at least 20 BC students were confirmed to have been sickened by E. Coli, though officials have not determined the cause.

As of early November, 37 people in Washington state and Oregon had been sickened after eating at Chipotle, and the restaurant had closed 43 restaurants in those states. The company’s stock plummeted after the closings. This followed a salmonella outbreak tied to Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota that left 64 people sickened over the summer. Officials there determined that tomatoes were the sources of the outbreak.

Certain strains of E. Coli bacteria can cause fever, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Boston College said a number of players came down with food poisoning before Sunday’s 68-66 loss to Massachusetts-Lowell, which has been a Division I program for just three years. The Eagles travel to 15th-ranked Providence on Wednesday and hope to have enough healthy players to practice Tuesday.

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