2012-05-24 / Front Page

Staphylococcus food poisoning cause of Mother's Day nightmare

150 sickened at celebratory lunch
Eric Gross

Lab results released Thursday by the Putnam Health Department revealed that staphylococcus food poisoning was the cause of the Mother's Day nightmare at the Chuang Yen Monastery in Kent Cliffs.

One hundred fifty of the 700 men, women and children on hand for the Buddhist Day Garden Party annual event at the picturesque retreat off Route 301 were treated after suddenly becoming sick, many vomiting and experiencing flu like symptoms and diarrhea. Five guests were admitted to area hospitals but have since been released.

Testing of food samples and patient specimens were conducted at the Wadsworth Center in Albany—New York State's Health Department public health laboratory.

Putnam Health Director Rebecca Wittenberg said the event had 17 volunteer food vendors "many of whom prepared and served similar food items. Linking the samples that tested positive to a particular vendor was impossible since the food samples were collected by health department staff after the event had ended and in some cases from discarded plates."


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