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Bacteria In Food Blamed After 19 Party-Goers Hospitalized

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Mecklenburg County health officials say at least 19 residents of an east Charlotte apartment complex were hospitalized over the weekend after eating the same dish at a birthday party.  A small number remain in intensive care units, including two children.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris on Monday blamed the illnesses on shigella, a type of bacteria that can spread through fecal matter. Harris said it's not related to the food itself, but in how it was handled. She said someone likely didn’t wash their hands properly before preparing one of the potluck items for the party Saturday night at Forest Hills Apartments.

Residents began calling 911 Sunday evening, and some requested Nepali translators. MEDIC ended up sending a mass casualty bus to canvas the neighborhood and treat any other people.  MEDIC report it was still receiving calls at 9:15 p.m. from more people exhibiting symptoms.  

About 100 people are believed to have attended the party. Officials say it’s possible that more may feel symptoms in the coming days.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as a fever and chills.

Correction: This story and headlne have been changed to accurately reflect the number of people hospitalized. A previous version said 40 people were hospitalized. While 40 people went to the hospital, only 19 were hospitalized.