Illness hits Rhode Island high school band Nausea may be linked to breakfast before marching in inaugural parade

January 21, 1993|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Staff Writer

Twenty-two members of a Rhode Island high school band that marched in President Clinton's Inauguration Day parade were hospitalized in Baltimore County last night when they became sick. None of the students -- seven boys and 15 girls -- is seriously ill. All were expected to be well enough to leave today for home.

At least one adult supervisor also was ill, but he was treated by an ambulance crew at the Marriott Hotel at Hunt Valley where the group was staying.

Ronald Flood, security chief at the Marriott Hotel, said 84 band members from Westerly High School in Westerly, R.I., and 14 adult supervisors left the hotel early yesterday morning in three tour buses bound for Washington.

In College Park, the group stopped for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at a Holiday Inn, where they had bacon and eggs, Mr. Flood said.

During the day in Washington, several in the group complained of feeling sick, but participated in the parade anyway.

Last night, after marching in the parade and not having any more to eat, the group left Washington and was headed back to the Marriott Hotel when many started feeling nauseous.

Mr. Flood said several of the band's chaperones, who were driving their personal cars, stopped and called the Marriott, alerting his staff that several teen-agers suffering from minor diarrhea and vomiting would arrive around 8 p.m.

He said the three bus drivers showed no signs of being ill.

"We called the county fire department and they had an ambulance crew from the Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Co. waiting for the band members when they got off the bus . . ." Mr. Flood said.

He and his staff set up cots and blankets in a banquet room and while additional rescue squads from Texas, Towson, Jacksonville and Hereford arrived to tend to the youths.

"The kids comforted each other and it was good to see how well they were taking the situation," he said.

As the evening wore on, more students complained of feeling ill.

By 8:30 p.m., the first group was taken by ambulances to St. Joseph Hospital in Towson, where they were examined and given fluids intravenously.

Shortly after midnight, several more students were sent to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where they also were treated.

Spokespersons at both hospitals said that the children had symptoms of food poisoning, but that tests were being taken to determine if food poisoning was actually the cause.

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