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Louisville: Mystery Illness at Middle School

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    Posted: September 29 2018 at 1:29pm
Mystery illness sickens 50 students at Mississippi middle school

The National Guard was called in to help at a Mississippi middle school after dozens of students plus some faculty and staff had to go to the hospital.

Friday, September 28, 2018 11:39PM
The National Guard was called in to help at a Mississippi middle school after dozens of students plus some faculty and staff had to go to the hospital.

The cause of their illness is still not known.

It all started within the 8th grade hallway at Eiland Middle School.

"We have had an exposure situation here, where we've had several students, teachers, and even first responders exposed to some undetermined chemical at this time," Buddy King, the Winston County emergency management director, told local news station WCBI. "We have suspicions that it's going to be secondary to vaping products, but as of right now we do not have confirmation."

Whatever the mysterious substance is, it's sending dozens to Winston Medical Center.

"Over the last two days, it looks like we've seen close to 50," said Paul Black, the Winston Medical Center's CEO.

Although several students left school sick, class has been in session all week. The school district's superintendent, Randy Grierson, said several agencies' recommendations supported the decision.

"We isolated that one hall. No one went in it," he said. "We redirected classes to where it would not affect anywhere around that hall, and that was the primary reason for it."

Grierson said the unknown is the scary part, and it's causing widespread speculation.

"Gas leak, carbon monoxide leak, and all those things have been addressed and I want to listen to every parent that calls and I've had probably 100 phone calls this morning and all I can promise them is were doing everything in our power to get this to find out what the catalyst of this is to make sure our kids have a safe place to come to school," he said.

Grierson said several students who reported symptoms admitted to taking some sort of vaping substance.

Still, the school is taking every possible precaution.

King said agencies have tested for carbon monoxide and methane, among other substances, and found them to be within normal limits.

And Black, the hospital CEO, is hoping test results ordered by the medical center will help solve the mystery.

"It's treatable with all we know right now, but I think there's still a lot of unanswered questions. I don't know for sure," he said. "I know we've sent labs down to UMCC to get some definitive answers on what was in the substance, so until we know that there can't be any long-term or definitive answer about what's going on."

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