Several Drexel students claimed to have received food poisoning at the Handschumacher Dining Center between Jan. 29 and Jan. 30.
Sarah Yacoubian, a freshman computer engineering major, described the experience in an interview: “On Tuesday I believe I ate two meals at the Hans, and later in the day I got very ill and started to throw up, and the following day I was sick as well and had to miss two classes because I was throwing up so much.” When asked how she knew she had food poisoning, Yacoubian responded, “That was the only thing I ate, and I know the difference between food poisoning and stomach viruses because, after I threw up the last time, I felt better.”
Vaughn Shirey, another freshman computer science major, had symptoms including dry heaving and lightheadedness.
“I usually eat at the Hans, and I went there around Wednesday of last week. I always get pizza and salad no matter what they are serving that day. At any rate, I returned to my room after feeling a little lightheaded. I took a brief nap and woke up early, ran to the bathroom with dry heaves. Then, for about a day and a half, I was back and forth to the bathroom with the feeling of a weight just dropping in my bowels,” Shirey said.
Jackelyn Eliassen, director of Retail Management, said, “It is important to note that Retail Management takes this very seriously and has been working with Sodexo closely on this issue.”
Tomer Shemesh, a freshman electrical engineering major who experienced heavy vomiting, had to go to the hospital.
“I went to eat at the Hans, came back, went to sleep, woke at 4 a.m., puked and continued to throw up every 20 minutes for 10 hours straight. Drexel made me go to the ER after about 9 hours. They took blood and gave me fluids and anti-nausea medication,” Shemesh said. Apparently, though, in Shemesh’s case it wasn’t just a simple case of food poisoning.
“[The doctors] told me it was norovirus, which is most commonly transmitted by food that has been handled by someone who was infected in the past three days,” Shemesh said.
Dr. Leslie Everts, director of the Student Health Center, said, “What students are perceiving as food poisoning may be symptoms of the flu or stomach virus. This winter there has been a national increase in the norovirus. The Health Center has been seeing an increase in norovirus incidents on campus. The best way to prevent transmission is to wash your hands with soap and water several times a day.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noroviruses cause gastroenteritis and food poisoning. Noroviruses are usually spread through infected water and foods, although they can also be passed from person to person. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.