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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Air Force public health inspectors have not yet determined what caused 44 German army soldiers to fall ill after eating at the Sembach Combined Club, a Ramstein spokeswoman said Thursday.

Initial test results indicate that the sickness, which caused the soldiers to have diarrhea, was not caused by a food-borne bacteria, Darlene Cowsert said.

However, public health investigators are awaiting results on stool samples taken by German veterinarians, who handle public health issues for German soldiers. The samples are being tested for a variety of possible causes, which is why the testing is taking so long, she said.

Nine of 22 samples have been completed, but those have not turned up any answers on what caused the June 20 illnesses, Cowsert said.

Under German regulations, the soldiers had to stop eating at the club after coming down with the illness, said Maj. Thomas Gross, commander of the German army’s Sembach and Hochspeyer contingents. Two hundred German soldiers augment U.S. security forces at the bases. For the past 18 months, they had eaten all their meals at the Sembach club.

Since the soldiers got sick, they have been eating boxed lunches made at Ramstein or in the Rhineland Inn dining facility on that base. Gross said Thursday that he hopes the results of all tests will be complete by next week and the soldiers can return to eating at the Sembach club.


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