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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    200 sickened in Seattle norovirus outbreak

    As many as 200 sickened in Seattle building norovirus outbreak

    By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press Published: Dec 7, 2015 at 12:43 PM PST Last Updated: Dec 7, 2015 at 2:52 PM PST


    SEATTLE (AP) - As many as 200 people have gotten sick in a norovirus outbreak at a downtown Seattle office building, health officials reported Monday.

    Illness at the Russell Investments Center grew exponentially after a catered event in the building, but several cases were reported before the event last Tuesday, according to Public Health-Seattle & King County, which is still investigating the outbreak that began last week.

    Between 175 and 200 cases have been reported to the health department either independently or through a survey of people who went to the catered event in the building.

    "We anticipate that number is probably low," said Dr. Meagan Kay, medical epidemiologist for communicable diseases with the Seattle and King County Public Health Department.

    Two people spent one night in a hospital because of norovirus, and another eight people were treated in emergency rooms during the past week.

    Norovirus is very common, and more than a dozen outbreaks are confirmed or probable in the county each year, Kay said. "This time of year, norovirus can spread person-to-person very quickly," she said.

    The building was thoroughly cleaned over the weekend, and all food service in the building has been shut down by the health department.

    Norovirus is highly contagious and quickly causes sickness. Norovirus causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to serious dehydration. People are likely to be sick for just a few days.

    It can spread through food and water or from person to person and is commonly associated with large gatherings of people at events and community centers and daycares.

    "Door knobs, handrails, all of those things can easily get contaminated," Kay said. "It may be it is something that's still out there."

    Health officials warned that people can continue to spread norovirus for weeks after symptoms are over so they should continue to be careful about handwashing and sanitation.

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Boston College says 80 students report symptoms after eating at Chipotle



    A man walks near a closed Chipotle restaurant on Monday in the Cleveland Circle neighborhood of Boston.

    Associated PressDec. 8, 2015 | 1:01 p.m. EST+ More

    By BOB SALSBERG and CANDICE CHOI, Associated Press

    BOSTON (AP) Boston College said the number of students reporting gastrointestinal symptoms after eating at a Chipotle this weekend has climbed to 80.


    On Monday, the school had said 30 students, including members of its men's basketball team, had been sickened.


    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. closed the restaurant in Boston's Cleveland Circle late Monday and said it thinks the illnesses are the result of norovirus, not a multi-state outbreak of E. coli linked to its restaurants. That outbreak has sickened 52 people in nine states, with the most recent illness starting on November 13.





    Boston College says all students who reported symptoms have been tested for both E. Coli and norovirus, and that results will not be available for at least two days.

    According to a report from the Boston Inspectional Services department dated Monday, an employee at the Chipotle in Boston was sick while working a shift Thursday.


    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. The restaurant's permit to operate has been suspended by the city and a disinfection process has begun, Christopher said.


    Scott Zoback, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said the agency had no update on the cause of the illnesses at Boston College.

    He said test results from specimens sent to labs were expected back later Tuesday or Wednesday.


    People can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is very contagious and can spread quickly in places such as daycare centers and cruise ships, the agency says. Each year, it causes 19 to 21 million illnesses.


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late last week the outbreak of E. coli tied to Chipotle has sickened 52 people in nine states so far. The first cases were reported at the end of October in Oregon and Washington, and the most recent illness began on Nov. 13.


    Chipotle executives noted the exposure period for the E. coli cases appears to be over. The company has said it is tightening its food safety standards.


    Chipotle Mexican Grill, based in Denver, has more than 1,900 locations, primarily in the U.S. It has already warned that sales are expected to fall as much as 11 percent at established locations for the fourth quarter as a result of bad publicity from the E. coli cases.


    That would mark the first time the sales figure has declined since Chipotle went public in 2006.


    In its annual report, Chipotle notes that it may be at a higher risk for outbreaks of food-borne illnesses because of its use of "fresh produce and meats rather than frozen, and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation."


    Chipotle shares fell $11.65, or 2.1 percent, to $540.10 in midday trading Tuesday.

    ___




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