Mystery illness strikes New Brunswick University

More than 85 students fall ill in 48 hours

SACKVILLE, N.B. (CUP) — A number of students in Sackville, N.B., woke up in the middle of the night violently ill, but nobody has any idea why.

Mount Allison University has confirmed that at least 87 students are currently ill, but has not confirmed the severity of each case. Students seem to be suffering from flu-like symptoms and vomiting.

The New Brunswick department of public health is on-site collaborating with the University and the Sackville hospital to help determine the cause of the illness and how it might be treated.

Samples have been taken from the university meal hall as well as from the students.

“Public health has been on campus and Jennings [the dining hall] has passed with flying colours,” said Michelle Strain, Mt. A director of administrative services.

Testing of the town’s water supply has begun as well but was not complete at press time.

Public health is currently working with the university administrative services, the campus health centre and department of student life to try to collect as many facts as they can in order to determine the nature of the illness.

According to Strain, the first reports of illness began the afternoon of Oct. 10. Since then, 87 people have been listed with the university as part of the outbreak. The illness is not limited to on- or off-campus students or to any particular area of the town.

Strain said the university is waiting until further information is available before making a statement to students about the illness, adding that it is currently battling “lots of rumours and hysteria.”