After attendance of a church outing, one person dies and 8 others became sick with alleged botulism, a food poisoning caused by ingestion of contaminated food, a hospital spokesperson said Tuesday.
At least 10 patients were rushed to the other hospitals, while five were treated at the emergency department, 3 persons were admitted at the intensive care unit and 1 death has been reported, according to Donna Stalter, Fairfield Medical Center spokeswoman in Lancaster declared last Tuesday eve.
The patients were believed to be from among the 50 to 60 attendees of church potluck picnic sponsored by the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church last Sunday.
The release said,”We are in the process of obtaining more information about these patients and our incident command team has assembled to handle this emergency.”
A neurologist at the hospital diagnosed one case of botulism while the two other patients suspected cases were identified thereafter.
Symptoms of the disease include blurry or double vision, shortness of breath, difficulty in swallowing and drooping eyelids, health officials say.
Department of Health spokesman Russ Kennedy said, “Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by a certain kind of bacteria.”
The government agency will work hand in hand with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to arrange for the delivery of a botulism anti-toxin to Ohio on Tuesday night from a national stockpile. The department’s laboratory will be testing the patients and will assist the county health district in the investigation of the source of the disease.
Though botulism is not contagious, symptoms usually occur within 18 to 36 hours after consumption of contaminated food, and can last up to 10 days.
Health officials urged anyone who attended the church activity and who exhibit the symptoms to seek for medical attention immediately.
The Fairfield County health department is trying to determine the exact number of people who were in attendance at the church event, Jennifer Valentine, a department spokeswoman said Tuesday.