50 from De Soto school fall ill during East Coast band trip
Students in De Soto High School’s band got more than just a Broadway experience during spring break last week.
More than 160 De Soto High School band students and chaperones had started home from their trip to New York City when dozens fell ill and had to stop Wednesday at a Pennsylvania hospital to be treated for food poisoning.
The group had planned to eat dinner the previous evening at a restaurant in the Little Italy area of the city before departing about 9 p.m. to return home, school district spokesman Alvie Cater said.
Members of the group began getting sick late that evening and — after stopping at rest stops throughout the night — called for an ambulance Wednesday morning when they determined at least one member of the group needed immediate attention, said Robin Jennings, a spokeswoman from Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pa.
Jennings said the hospital treated about 40 students and 10 adults, administering intravenous fluids to some and sending others off with anti-nausea medication and Gatorade.
“Their goal is to go home,” Jennings said last week. “This was to help them be able to do that as quickly as possible.”
Jennings said emergency crews notified the hospital in advance that, along with the patient the ambulance was called for, dozens more victims would be arriving for treatment. She said hospital staff treated the students first, then the adults.
“Two of the parents on the trip are registered nurses, so that was very helpful,” Cater said.
Cater said the group, which traveled via three buses to and from New York, was back on the road by 2 p.m. Wednesday and arrived home by Thursday morning. He said to the best of his knowledge, all the students had recovered and were back in class when school resumed Monday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health, in cooperation with its New York counterpart, was conducting interviews to pinpoint the source of the group’s illness, the Associated Press reported.
The band and chaperones left De Soto March 9 to take part in a program put on by Broadway Classroom, an organization that works with schools, teaching them to learn and perform Broadway music.
Cater said the band had been planning and fundraising for the trip for two years.
“They said it was a great trip, they had a blast. It’s just this last leg,” he said. “It’s going to be a trip they’ll remember, that’s for sure.”