30 Boston College students get sick after eating at Chipotle

A man walks near a closed Chipotle restaurant on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in the Cleveland Circle neighborhood of Boston. Chipotle said late Monday that it closed the restaurant after several students at Boston College, including members of the men’s basketball team, reported “gastrointestinal symptoms” after eating at the chain. The school said it was working with local health officials to determine the cause of the illness. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON (AP) – Thirty Boston College students, including at least eight members of the men’s basketball team, complained of gastrointestinal symptoms after eating at a Chipotle restaurant, school officials said Monday.

It was not immediately known if the illnesses were part of a national outbreak of E. coli that has been linked to the Denver-based chain.

Boston College said several students came to the school’s Health Services center and the “common factor” among all 30 students was that they had eaten at the Chipotle restaurant in the Cleveland Circle neighborhood near the BC campus.

The school said it notified the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which is investigating.

“We cannot confirm a cause of the illness at this time, but we are coordinating with Boston public health officials to determine the cause,” said Scott Zoback, a spokesman for the public health agency.

Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., said in an email that the Boston restaurant has been closed temporarily while the company works with local health officials to investigate the illnesses.

The company has no evidence to suggest that the incident is related to previous cases, Arnold said, noting that there have been no confirmed cases of E. coli connected to Chipotle in Massachusetts.

Chris Cameron, a spokesman for the school’s athletics department, said at least eight basketball players reported gastrointestinal symptoms overnight Saturday.

Head Coach Jim Christian said he got a call from two players Sunday morning saying they had food poisoning. One was Dennis Clifford, the team’s leading rebounder, who did not play in the Eagles’ 68-66 loss Sunday to UMass-Lowell.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the outbreak has sickened 52 people in nine states so far, but the ingredient that made people sick has not been identified.

Chipotle, which has more than 1,900 locations, has said it is adopting stricter food safety standards.

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Associated Press writers Jimmy Golen, Candice Choi and Collin Binkley contributed to this report.

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