By Sara Chernikoff
Five University of Maryland campus community members have been diagnosed with salmonella. The University Health Center first notified the University of Maryland community that three students were diagnosed with salmonella on September 20. The Health Center reported a total of nine cases, eight of which were linked to eating hummus from Moby Dick House of Kabob. Maryland health officials are currently investigating the exact cause of the infection.
Moby Dick House of Kabob has since voluntarily suspended the sale of hummus. The restaurant chain, which sells traditional Persian food, has locations throughout Maryland, Virginia and D.C., including one on campus.
In a statement, the Maryland Health Department recommended that consumers throw away hummus purchased from any Moby Dick House of Kabob establishment.
“The safety and health of our customers is our No.1 concern and utmost priority; we are working diligently to investigate and determine the root cause of this claim,” Alex Momeni, spokesman for Moby Dick House of Kabob, said in a statement.
Director of the University Health Center David McBride urged individuals with underlying illnesses and weakened immune systems that begin exhibiting symptoms of salmonella to contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Symptoms of salmonella may include fever and diarrhea. People with persistent diarrhea longer than 48-72 hours or bloody diarrhea, should contact a healthcare provider, according to the university health center.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that can be passed through contaminated food or from contact with an infected animal. Symptoms usually include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain, which tend to last 4–7 days.
Most people recover without specific treatment, McBride said.
According to Maureen Regan, deputy director of communications at the Maryland Department of Health, the effects can be deadly in some cases if the person is not treated with antibiotics.
“Salmonella can cause severe illness in some people, particularly when the infection spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream,” said Regan.
“The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness,” she said.
Investigations of Salmonella outbreaks focus on gathering information from patients to identify potential common food and/or environmental exposures,” said Regan.
Students are saddened to learn that the salmonella outbreak was connected to a popular food joint on campus.
“I was disappointed to hear because it was one of my go-to places for a healthy meal,” said Edima Essien, a junior theatre and communications double major.
There have not been any newly reported cases of students affected by salmonella since last Friday.