Mystery Illness Hits Plainview - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/2/03

Mystery Illness Hits Plainview

It's timing couldn't be more sour. A mysterious illness hits the campus of Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, just five days before finals. Twenty-six students were treated at a Plainview emergency room when the outbreak happened late Wednesday night, and as of Friday, the investigation continues.

It all started on Wednesday night. Twenty-six W.B.U. students showing symptoms of vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Senior Andy Sims was one of them. "It was pretty terrible. It was kind of funny to look across the ER and see about 20 of my friends. But we were all in it together and looked after our friends."

By the end of the week, 54 students and there's rumor there could be more who are sick. Plainview and Hale County Health Inspector, Jack McCasland says he's not sure what caused the mystery illness outbreak. "It may be viral it may be food borne. There's no way of knowing right now."

McCasland says they're waiting to hear back from the lab and then they'll be able to determine the cause. Right now, the investigation centers around the university's cafeteria. A place where most of the students eat everyday. "The day the dean talked to people, there weren't as many people as usual eating inside the cafeteria," said freshman, Andrew Pearce.

"I'm concerned but pretty much everyone's who got it went through a one day deal. So, if I get it, it's just going to be for one day," said Senior, Jason Henderson.

As soon as W.B.U. school officials heard about the outbreak, Vice President, Dr. Claude Lusk says they took immediate action.. "The first thing we wanted to do as a precaution is to deal with any concern there might be a problem within the food area. We went to continental breakfast that next morning, and afternoon and served food on paper plates," Lusk said.

Wayland has around 1,000 students that attend the University in Plainview. At this hour, McCasland with the Hale County health department says preliminary reports show there's nothing life threatening about the illness. As of Friday, NewsChannel 11 was told the university's kitchen has been sanitized and that their food is OK to eat.

No word about what type of illness they're dealing with. School nurses are on hand to treat any other student who comes up infected with the mysterious illness.

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