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article imageOffice party in Florida sickens 55 employees, hospitalizes dozens

By Megan Hamilton     Dec 13, 2014 in Odd News
Maitland - A holiday office party that should have been fun went horribly wrong on Wednesday after dozens of people attending the party became violently sick. Authorities say that food poisoning is the likely culprit.
The illness struck quickly; guests started complaining of feeling sick within two hours at the party, Reuters reports. Food samples were tested to determine what caused the outbreak at the catered event.
It's thought that Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that can cause skin infections, may be a possible culprit, according to ProMED. The lunch may have been contaminated with a staph infection or an uncovered lesion because the illnesses started shortly after the employees ate their meals, Fox News reports.
"There's a significant number of patients that have symptoms that are consistent with a stomach illness," Maitland Deputy Fire Chief Will Watts told Food Safety News.
Employees began vomiting and hurrying to the bathroom with diarrhea around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Some folks became so ill that they passed out, and as many as 25 people were taken by ambulance to the hospitals. Others drove themselves to doctor's offices and hospitals.
"It's a pretty big outbreak to have so many people become sick in one location," Dain Weister, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Health said, per Fox News. "It's not too often that we have so many people sick."
An investigation will take several weeks, Weister said.
The caterer and food preparation protocols are under investigation.
Due to the fact that the illnesses happened so swiftly, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have been notified. Public health officials interviewing patients have sent samples to laboratories, the Food Poisoning Bulletin reports. Because so many people were sickened so suddenly, within two hours of arriving at the party, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI were notified. Public health officials have launched an investigation and are interviewing patients. Samples from patients have been sent to labs, but it could take days or weeks to identify what made people sick, per the Bulletin.
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