Eighty Bostonian students sick with norovirus after eating at Chipotle

City health officials say initial testing has shown the presence of norovirus at the Cleveland Circle Chipotle where several Boston College students reported eating before becoming ill.

The illnesses led to the temporary closure of the restaurant in the city’s Cleveland Circle neighborhood.

“We do not have any evidence to suggest that this incident is related to the previous E. coli incident”, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said in an email. “There are no confirmed cases of E. coli connected to Chipotle in MA”.

Since the investigation regarding this outbreak is now underway, officials from the Massachusetts Public Health Department and the Boston Public Health Department did not speculate on the cause.

The root cause of an E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants remains unknown, with the outbreak continuing to spread as the company’s stock plummets. The source of that contamination has still not been disclosed.

William Christopher, commissioner of the department, said at a briefing Tuesday that it was not immediately known if the restaurant’s management was aware of the employee’s symptoms.

Local news reports state that at least 80 Boston College students reported being sickened after eating at the restaurant. The states with reported cases are Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, New York and Ohio.E. coli are bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals, some strains of which can cause severe food poisoning.

An inspector temporarily suspended Chipotle’s permit after finding three violations: cooked chicken and steak was below the proper holding temperature of 140 degrees and an employee working despite being sick.

The E.coli virus gained particular noteriety in 1993 when beef patties from Jack in the Box infected over 700 people, killing four.

In its latest annual report, Chipotle explained it may be at a higher risk of food-borne illness than some competitors due to its “use of fresh produce and meats rather than frozen” and “reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation”.

Chipotle, which has more than 1,900 locations, has said it is adopting stricter food safety standards. It noted that it appears to be “norovirus isolated to this location” and that it has not heard of reports of illness at any other locations. Shares closed Monday’s trading at 551.75 and opened Tuesday down 3.5 percent at 532.00.

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