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Experts Probe Illness Outbreak

Sam Houston State University officials, along with health officials from the City of Huntsville, the Texas Department of Health, and the company which handles food service on the SHSU campus, are working to determine the cause of stomach and intestinal illnesses reported by approximately 125 SHSU students who went to either the Huntsville Memorial Hospital or SHSU University Health Center.

No meals were served in Belvin Cafeteria Friday, and all university food service locations were closed late Friday for Spring Break. The university and its food service contractor will be certain that there is no potential for any illness to be transmitted from any cafeteria before they are re-opened after spring break.

City health officials have said that there were no serious problems found in previous inspections.

By noon Sunday, all of the SHSU students who had been hospitalized had also been released.

David Bergmire-Sweatt, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the Texas Department of Health, said in a news conference Friday afternoon that to this point his investigators have no positive findings, although they strongly suspect an "invasive" bacterial infection.

Bergmire-Sweatt said that the health department team was conducting interviews, detaining food, and taking lab cultures which may take several days to analyze.

Please note: This site will be updated as new information becomes available. Students are on spring break and no new primary infections are expected. Any parent, student, or media representative needing telephone updates, which may be posted more frequently if additional information is received, can call our Health Hotline at (409) 294-1826. Please leave a message if a return call is needed. For additional information relating to the illnesses, see questions and answers provided by Pat Harrison, infection control nurse at Huntsville Memorial Hospital and the Texas Department of Health.


Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
March 13, 1998
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