US: 150 suffer suspected food poisioning at Buddhist monastery

Putnam County health officials have determined that roughly 150 people got sick after eating food that was brought to the Chuang Yen Monastery in Kent on Sunday during a Mothers Day celebration.

(Photo: http://www.baus.org)
Chuang Yen Monastery
(Click on photo to go http://www.baus.org)

Health officials collected several samples of food that visitors brought to the sprawling campus of the Buddhist monastery off Route 52 and have sent them to a state laboratory in Albany for testing, Rebecca Wittenberg, public health director for the health department, said today.

I know there have been some reports as to what caused the illness but, at this point, we do not know the cause, Wittenberg said this afternoon.

We may know when the test results come back.

She could not say when that might be.

About 700 people came to the monastery from New York City, Rockland, Orange and Westchester counties, as well as Connecticut. Roughly 500 of them came by bus from New York City, then left for a shopping trip to the Woodbury Commons outlet stores in Orange County, where many of them took ill.

The symptoms were limited mostly to vomiting and stomach cramps, although a few people experienced diarrhea, Wittenberg said.

Patients were taken to five or six hospitals, depending on where they first experienced symptoms.

Putnam health officials are working with other health officials to speak to each person who was treated for the illness to find out what they ate Sunday and when they ate it, she said.

Emergency responders in Woodbury treated about 60 people, sending roughly half of them to be evaluated at local hospitals.

For this amount of people, at one time, this gets classified as a MCI massive casualty incident,

said David Sutz, an emergency medical technician with the Woodbury Community Ambulance.

Sgt. Cliff Weeks of the Woodbury police said the first patient was a 91-year-old woman. He said 20 victims were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, St. Lukes Cornwall Hospital in Cornwall and Orange Regional Medical Center in Goshen to be treated for symptoms believed to have been caused by food poisoning.

One of the biggest concerns (with this illness) is the risk of dehydration, Wittenberg said.

If you did take ill and you havent been evaluated, we would ask people to speak to their medical provider or access an emergency room to seek treatment.

Health officials are also asking anyone who ate at the monastery Sunday and got sick to call them at 845-808-1390 and press zero to speak with a receptionist.

She also urged anyone who took home leftover food from the event to throw it in the trash.Kent Police Det. Gerald Locascio said there does not appear to be any criminality in the incident and that investigators are working with heallth officials to determine which dish may have caused the outbreak.

Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 at 09:05 (09:05 AM) UTC RSOE

Update: Sticky rice balls are suspected as a possible culprit, Town ofKent Police Det. Gerald Locascio said Monday.

For more on this story: http://newyork.newsday.com/news/health/food-samples-sent-to-lab-after-chuang-yen-monastery-outbreak-1.3716379?qr=1

97 in US water park parasite epidemic

“97 people have reported cases of cryptosporidiosis since last month’s outbreak at Edgewater Resort and Water Park in Duluth, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

22 of those cases have been confirmed in laboratories. Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) epidemiologist Trisha Robinson said the confirmed cases probably only represent a fraction of people who were actually sickened by the parasite. The investigation of the outbreak is still in progress.

“One different thing with cryptosporidiosis is the time from when a person is exposed to the time when they become sick can be as long as 2 weeks,” Robinsons said. “Pools were closed on 26 March, so we could still have people becoming ill 2 weeks after that, and their symptoms last anywhere from one to 2 weeks.” Another unrelated cryptosporidiosis outbreak in Brainerd [Minnesota] last month resulted in 36 reported cases, with one case being confirmed in a laboratory. The symptoms of cryptosporidiosis include stomach cramps, fevers or diarrhea. It can be contracted by swimming in infected water, contact with animals or even drinking raw unpasteurized milk. “The way that cryptosporidiosis is typically introduced into the water park, and which we believe is the instance in both of these cases, is that it comes in from an infected user,” Robinson said.

In 2011, there were 305 laboratory-confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis, according to preliminary MDH numbers. Robinson said one person was hospitalized in each of the Brainerd and Duluth outbreaks. “It certainly can be more dangerous to those who are immune-compromised: the children, the very elderly, pregnant individuals,” Robinson said. “In Minnesota, we can see about 20 percent of individuals that would require hospitalization for this, so it is something that can cause very serious illness.” Robinson said that people who have been sick with diarrhea in the previous 2 weeks should avoid swimming in recreational waters.”

Monday, 23 April, 2012 at 06:04 (06:04 AM) UTC RSOE

Edgewater Resort and Waterpark