19 Hospitalized After Reporting Feeling Sick at East Charlotte Neighborhood Event

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
July 2, 2018US News
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19 Hospitalized After Reporting Feeling Sick at East Charlotte Neighborhood Event
Multiple Medic vehicles responded to numerous calls about illness at Forest Hill Townhomes on July 1, 2018. (Screenshot via Fox 46 Charlotte)

North Carolina health officials have discovered what they think is the cause for several dozen people falling ill at a Charlotte apartment complex.

About 40 people fell ill after attending a community event at Forest Hill Townhomes in the 6500 block of Four Seasons lane in Charlotte, North Carolina.

EMTs got the first call at about 6 p.m. on July 1. A series of 911 calls followed, prompting health officials to send a mass casualty bus to transport the victims.

Multiple Medic vehicles responded to numerous calls about illness at Forest Hill Townhomes on July 1. (Fox screenshot)
Multiple Medic vehicles responded to numerous calls about illness at Forest Hill Townhomes on July 1. (Screenshot via Fox 46 Charlotte)

It turned out that all of the afflicted residents had attended a community event on June 30. Some sort of food-borne infection was immediately suspected.

The Mecklenburg County Public Health Department told Fox News on July 1 that the victims had been “exposed to feces” while at the neighborhood gathering.

County Health Director Gibby Harris held a press conference on July 2, explaining that many different people brought food to the “potluck” birthday party, and that some of it was contaminated with highly contagious shigella bacteria.

More than three dozen people were affected and at least 19 hospitalized with Shigella infections. (Fox screenshot)
More than three dozen people were affected and at least 19 hospitalized with Shigella infections. (Screenshot via Fox 46 Charlotte)

Harris said about 40 percent of the attendees were affected by the infection. She said that probably whoever prepared the food had not washed his or her hands properly.

According to Harris, at least 18 people had been admitted to a Novant Health facility for treatment, while at least one had gone to Atrium Health.

“A small number of those are in intensive care units,” Harris said, “so we do have some individuals who are seriously affected by this.”

EMTs sent the mass casualty bus as the toll of victims continued to rise. (Fox screenshot)
EMTs sent the mass casualty bus as the toll of victims continued to rise. (Screenshot via Fox 46 Charlotte)

Carmel Clements, director of the Mecklenburg County Communicable Disease division, described the symptoms.

“Shigella is usually characterized by diarrhea, which may or may not contain blood, and/or mucus, severe abdominal pain and cramping, fever, chills, headache—those kinds of flu-type symptoms—and nausea and vomiting.”

Clement said the infection usually presented within one to three days after exposure, but could incubate for as long as seven days.  

Health officials announced that anyone who brought food from home to the party should not eat it. Instead, they are urged to call Environmental Health at (980) 314-1660 so the food can be tested.

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