The University Health Services (UHS) is investigating several recent cases of salmonella poisoning which may have been contracted in the Freshman Union, Dr. Sholem Postel, assistant director of UHS, said yesterday.
UHS has diagnosed eight cases of salmonella poisoning and has admitted three students to Stillman Infirmary for treatment, Postel said. Most of the infected students are freshmen, he added.
Salmonella is a species of bacteria that infects dairy products, especially food made with eggs, Postel said. Diarrhea is the main symptom of such poisoning, but it is not usually a serious or fatal disease, he said.
"Salmonella is ordinarily a self-limiting disease, and there is some evidence that using antibiotics can prolong its effects, so we usully do not specifically treat the disease," Postel said.
On the Case
Although all students so far have mild cases, "the matter is under intenseive investigation," Postel said. Investigators are using "common epidemiological procedure" by examining food service workers to try to trace the sources of the poisoning, he said.
"The poisoning could be transmitted by a food service worker who is a carrier, and who transmits the poisoning by handling the food," Postel said.
Frank J. Weissbecker, director of food services, said yesterday there are no plans at the moment to close down the Union because "the case is not particularly grave and no one has traced the Union as the source yet."
Charles J. Krause Jr., sanitary inspector for UHS and the director of the investigation, could not be reached for comment last night.
Nastv Little Germs
Postel said investigators are using the state Department of Public Health laboratories to confirm the species of salmonella causing the poisoning.