Outbreaks of a mysterious, sleeping-sickness-like disease plaguing Yard dwellers have been traced to a new insecticide used last week on local trees.
According to Dr. Paul R. Chernoff spokesman for University Health Services, twelve freshman reported to Stillman infirmary over the weekend with symptoms of "profound lethargy." All were unable to take their examinations.
"No evidence of any sort of infection was found," Chernoff said, "but we had reason to believe something was wrong. I remembered similar attacks at Yale about this time last year and recalled that an insecticide had been to blame. So I called Buildings and Grounds to see if any suspicious chemicals were being used."
'Not Terribly Dangerous'
Chernoff found that an experimental compound, cyclobutadiene, was sprayed on Yard flora last Tuesday and Wednesday. "In small amounts this substance can cause characteristic disturbances of physical and mental functions," he explained. "It is not terribly dangerous, but the results can be alarming."
Chernoff lsited the symptons of "cyclobutadiene intoxication" as: "Inability to concentrate, drowsiness during the day, frequent yawning, lassitude, a negative disposition, and, eventually intermittent periods of insensibility deepening to semistupor." There is no antidote, but removing the patient as far as possible from the affected area (preferably to a seaside or mountain location) seems to bring a prompt alleviation of symptoms.
Physicians at the Health Services that "small amounts of the filter down from leaves and get things on the ground underneath-- freshmen or others taking naps." of the ill students admitted to having on Yard grass shortly before became sick.
"I would urge," Chernoff warned, "that people who are prone to this sort of , particularly those with exams up, resist the desire to laze under the , lest they succumb to the 'green .'