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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — German Bundeswehr soldiers have temporarily stopped eating at the Sembach Combined Club because 44 soldiers became ill after eating at the club last weekend.

All the soldiers had lunch or dinner at the club on Saturday and started coming down with diarrhea early Sunday morning, Ramstein Air Base spokesman Capt. Phil Ulmer said.

Under German regulations, the soldiers cannot eat at the facility until tests are conducted to determine the cause of the outbreak, said Maj. Thomas Gross, Commander of the Bundeswehr’s Sembach and Hochspeyer contingents.

Two hundred German soldiers augment U.S. troops providing security at Sembach and a munitions facility in Hochspeyer, Gross said. They now have to travel for every meal to Ramstein Air Base, where they eat either at the Rhineland Inn dining facility or the flight kitchen, Gross said. It’s about a 30-minute trip by bus to Ramstein from Sembach.

“It’s a little bit complicated to have lunch at Ramstein,” Gross said. “We hope we can have food in Sembach again next week.”

The Sembach Combined Club has served the German soldiers three meals a day for 18 months, Gross said.

They are served in a separate buffet line that includes food catering to the German palate, club manager Lisa Pajac said. Food is still being served at the American side of the club, she said.

German and U.S. Air Force public health experts are conducting tests to determine the cause of the outbreak, Ulmer said. Initial tests have focused on tracking down any food-borne bacteria, but so far all tests have come back negative, he said. The full results are expected by the end of next week.

Food samples were taken from any leftovers from that day’s meal. All ice and water at the facility also have tested negative for any bacteria, Ulmer said.

The tests are being analyzed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Public health workers inspect dining facilities and clubs once a month. Since the outbreak at Sembach, the club has been inspected three times this week, including no-notice inspections, Ulmer said.

On Saturday, 66 soldiers ate lunch at the club and 50 ate dinner, Gross said. The 44 who got sick took anti-diarrhea medicine and recovered, Gross said.

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