18 sickened at N.H. restaurant popular with politicians

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Eighteen people were sickened with a gastrointestinal illness after attending a private function last month at a restaurant co-owned by a Democratic congressman that’s popular with presidential candidates, state health officials said Friday.

People who became ill with norovirus attended the private function Nov. 24 at the Puritan Backroom in Manchester, the state Department of Health and Human Services said. One person later died but it was unclear if the death was related to the norovirus outbreak, the department said.

The restaurant is co-owned by Rep. Chris Pappas and is famous for its chicken tenders. It has been in his family for more than a century and is a frequent stop for presidential candidates of both parties.


The manager of the Puritan Backroom, Erik Zink, said in a statement that the restaurant’s top priorities are promoting health and excellent food safety and that he was confident it was doing everything possible to maintain those practices.

Zink also said the restaurant had reached out to the family of the person who died to express “our condolences’’ for the death which he blamed on unidentified causes.

After the outbreak, the Manchester Health Department conducted an inspection of the facility. Based on the inspection, health officials determined there was no ongoing norovirus risk to the public.

The common symptoms of norovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain, health officials said. The state sees from 50 to 75 norovirus outbreaks every year.


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