TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Scores of Workers Sickened From Apparent Food Poisoning

Scores of Workers Sickened From Apparent Food Poisoning

TELECOM Digest Editor (
Wed, 14 Dec 2005 16:41:58 EST

Several dozen employes in the Coffeyville/Independence
facility were stricken with apparent food poisoning early Tuesday
morning after eating food provided to them by an Oklahoma catering
company. The company normally provides food to employees working at

Local and area hospitals were inudated with Amazon employees after the
outbreak began about 1:30 AM Tuesday. The distribution center is
located between Coffeyville and Independence in the Coffeyville
Industrial Park.

Emergency Medical Service paramedics and technicians from
Independence, Coffeyville, Parsons, and Caney were alerted to the
outbreak and began transporting victims to the Coffeyville Regional
Medical Center, Mercy Hospital in Independence, and Labette County
Medical Center in Parsons. Joanne Cox, director of Public Relations
for Mercy Hospital said one woman was admitted, five others were
treated and released.

At CRMC, Susan Correll said 20 people were transported to that
facility, and eight were admitted. At LCMC there were eight employees
treated, then released, according to William Mahoney, CEO of the

Amazon announced the closing of the facility during the early morning
hours on Tuesday, but by the time for the day shift, the facility had

Word of the outbreak began shortly after midnight according to the
Montgomery County Sheriff's Department. Deputy Todd Clark was making
his routine rounds and noted a car on the side of the road at Paul
Street and Walnut Street in Coffeyville. As is customary, the deputy
stopped to inquire about the well-being of the passenger and notice a
female occupant who was leaning out of the car window vomiting. He
offered to help the woman or escort her to her destination. She told
him she worked at and had eaten some barbeque pork catered
to the employees between the late evening and early morning shifts by
Poritunes Food and Ale, an Oklahoma company which feeds employees at
the facility. Cook advised his dispatcher about the situation and then
about an hour later, at 1:16 AM the dispatcher advised him that
Coffeyville EMS personnel were responding to Amazon where a woman with
diabetes had become ill and was believed to be striken with food

Cook responded to the facility to assist the EMS workers and was told
upon arrival that between 60 and 80 employees had become ill. At that
point, Tony Lamb, an employee of Coffeyville EMS requested other
emergency agencies in the area to assist in the evacuation and
transport of the facility's employees, and that a public announcement
be made asking everyone who had eaten the barbeque offered by the
catering service (from the earlier shift, now mostly scattered and on
their way home) to be alert to the problem and see their physician as
needed. A general announcement was made over cable television in
Independence and Coffeyville seeking employees for this.

Sharon Watson, director of public affairs for Kansas Department of
Health and Evironment said three investigators had been assigned to
work with Montgomery County health officials to detirmine the exact
cause of the outbreak; They were joined by Oklahoma health officials
(the catering firm is located in Oklahoma) in saying it was apparently
'tainted pork sausage' which was responsible. Samples of the pork
sausage and samples from the patients were sent to the state
laboratory in Topeka for futher examination. By Wednesday things were
back to normal at the Amazon facility.

Copyright 2005 Independence Reporter Publishing.

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