Twenty-two children became ill Thursday after having lunch at a San Diego elementary school cafeteria, officials confirmed.
The children were nauseous, vomiting and suffering abdominal pains after eating lunch in the cafeteria at Audubon Elementary School. Officials said the nearly two dozen children were transported from the school to a local hospital.
Aerial views of the school showed several ambulances picking up children from campus and placing them inside the emergency vehicles. Police officers gathered at the school as well, and could be seen talking with concerned parents.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Robert Garcia said the children possibly drank a beverage that had gone bad, perhaps juice or milk, and likely suffered food poisoning.
“We have multiple patients and because they’re so young, just as a precaution, they were transported [to the hospital],” said Garcia.
Garcia said the students were triaged in the nurse’s office and from there, transported by medics.
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“The patients were all in mild status, so none of them were in really bad shape, many of them were able to walk out on their own, visibly upset, but they were all mild status,” he added.
The San Diego Unified School District confirmed that the 22 sick children were in kindergarten through 7th grade. The district said most students were released from the hospital after examinations.
No further details were disclosed on the students’ latest conditions.
San Diego County health officials are now investigating and working with the school district’s food services department to determine the cause of the incident.
The district says a total of 425 students ate lunch on campus Thursday.
Parents and caregivers of students at Audubon Elementary School were very concerned after being notified of the incident. Some parents could be seen crying as they arrived at the school.
Grandmother Leslie Allen said her granddaughter – who’s in first grade – was one of the children taken to the hospital.
"I'm scared because she got transported to the hospital. They're telling me that she's okay, that she threw up and she went to the restroom, but I'm scared because there are food poisoning things out there that will kill children and I'm really worried," Allen told NBC 7.
Parent Brenda Gomez also said she received a call from the school saying her 8-year-old son had food poisoning. She said her son drank milk from the cafeteria prior to becoming ill.
Audubon Elementary School is part of the Skyline District and is located at 8111 San Vicente St. in San Diego’s Lomita neighborhood (see map below). It’s a year-round school that is in session through Jul. 19.
The district says Audubon Elementary School will be in normal session again Friday. Breakfast and lunch will be served on campus on a normal schedule.