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By ESPN Staff
May 11, 2006

Different conclusions to Spurs virus tests

Tottenham have revealed initial tests by the Health Protection Agency into the suspected food poisoning outbreak are inconclusive, despite the discovery of a virus in one of the affected players.

Ten Spurs players were struck down with suspected food poisoning on the morning of their final game of the season, against West Ham, after eating lasagne at the team's Canary Wharf hotel.

Although Spurs tried to get the Premier League to delay the start of the game, the club fulfilled the fixture even though players were vomiting in the dressing room right up until kick-off.

Spurs lost the match 2-1, wrecking their hopes of playing in the Champions League next season as Arsenal leapfrogged them into fourth place in the Premiership with a 4-2 win over Wigan in their final match at Highbury.

The initial report from the Health Protection Agency and Tower Hamlets Environmental Health showed one player was suffering from a virus that could be responsible for the outbreak of illness among other players.

But the report also reveals that the virus was not present in another player who was suffering from the same symptoms.

Spurs are now awaiting the results of further tests before they hope to be able to pinpoint the cause of the illness which affected so many of their players.

Tottenham's head of medical services, Dr. Charlotte Cowie said: 'The information received so far is inconclusive, but more importantly, the results shown as yet are inconsistent.

'Despite there being the presence of a virus in one sample, it is not present in another sample from an equally affected individual.

'Therefore, it would be incorrect to make any assumptions at this stage as to the origin or timing of this and, if anything, it serves to sustain our level of uncertainty.

'I should also like to stress at this point we are awaiting the results of numerous further tests. It really is far too premature to draw any conclusions from such an initial set of results.'

Tottenham issued their response after the agency report claimed one person had a form of gastroenteritis, present before their stay at the Marriott Hotel, and which may have spread to the other players.

Dr Alex Mellanby, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at the Health Protection Agency, revealed that `norovirus', a form of viral gastroenteritis, was found in a sample taken from one of the affected Spurs players.

Mellanby said: 'No definite conclusion as to the cause of the outbreak can be drawn from this one result.

'Only after we have received the results from tests being undertaken on further samples will we be able to make any definite conclusions.'

Michael Dawson, Edgar Davids, Michael Carrick and Robbie Keane were struck down with the illness but all four played in the game. The Premier League has since rejected Tottenham's request to replay the match.

Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen claim Spurs have agreed to match their asking price for Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov.

The German club are asking for in excess of £10million for the 25-year-old, who has scored 20 goals this season to fire Bayer to the brink of UEFA Cup qualification.

Reports in Germany suggest Manchester United could also enter the bidding for Berbatov due to the uncertainty over the future of Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Bayer's director of football Rudi Voller told Bild newspaper: 'Tottenham have spoken to us again and are now prepared to match our asking price.

'The decision lies with Dimitar.

'It is understandable that he wants to try something new after six years in Leverkusen, but it will hurt us to lose such a great player.'

Bayer have already beefed up their attack, with the signing of German under-21 international striker Stefan Kiessling from Nurnberg.