22 hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after attending Utah LDS church


(NEW YORK) — At least 22 people were hospitalized after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building in Utah on New Year’s Eve, officials said.

The Sevier County Sherriff’s Office (SCSO) said it received two medical calls from the building in Monroe East, about 170 miles south of Salt Lake City. The first was about a 4-year-old girl having breathing problems. She had been sick earlier in the week, so it was believed she was having further symptoms of that illness, SCSO said in a Monday press release.

EMS services, however, were called back to the same building after an adult man reported feeling unwell. At the time, the man believed he was suffering from low blood sugar levels, officials said.

When another family reported headaches after arriving home from church, the Monroe City Fire Department was called to check the building for potential carbon monoxide poisoning.

Firefighters found high levels of carbon monoxide and the building was evacuated.

Some of the 22 individuals sought treatment at Sevier Hospital while others had to be transported to area hospitals.

“This required 10 ambulance transports to get everyone to a hospital that had a hyperbaric chamber that could treat the patients,” the SCSO said. “Sevier County EMS did not have enough ambulances or personnel for this many transports so other agencies were contacted for assistance. The last ambulance was back from the final transfer at 10:00 a.m. [Monday] morning. Some of the Ambulance crews made more than one trip.”

The patients’ symptoms and their conditions are currently unclear. The SCSO did not immediately reply to ABC News’ request for comment.

The cause of the carbon monoxide poisoning is currently unknown, but church officials said they are investigating and working to resolve the problem, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not immediately reply to ABC News’ request for comment.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when someone breathes a large amount of the gas, which replaces oxygen for carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous because it is odorless and tasteless and ingesting too much of it can lead to serious damage and death.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, weakness, dizziness, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and confusion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Everyone is at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, although elderly people and infants, as well as those with chronic heart disease, breathing problems or anemia, are more likely to get sick, the federal health agency said.

More than 400 people die due to carbon monoxide poisoning each year, according to the CDC.

To prevent poisoning, the CDC recommends installing a battery-operated or battery-backup carbon monoxide detector and replacing the batteries each spring and fall.

Additionally, it’s recommended to have heating systems and water heaters serviced every year and, if you have a chimney, make sure it’s checked or cleaned every year.

If you believe you’re experiencing the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, seek further medical evaluation.


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