At least 22 students sickened at Audubon Elementary School

SDFRD: 18 children taken to hospital

SAN DIEGO - At least 22 children at a Lomita-area school complained of stomach pain, and as many as 18 were taken to hospitals to be evaluated, authorities said Thursday.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials told 10News multiple ambulances and fire engines were called to Audubon Elementary School on 8111 San Vicente Street shortly before 12:40 p.m.

Medics took some of the affected children, who complained of nausea and similar digestive discomfort, to trauma centers for observation, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said.

Their conditions were not believed to be serious, he said.

10News learned four of the ill students were released to their parents.

"They called me that my granddaughter was sick," said Leslie Allen, a grandmother of one of the girls who was ill. "She was OK, but now that I just got up here they told me that she was transported to the hospital in Chula Vista."

Emergency responders told 10News the children may have been sickened by something they had at the school-offered breakfast.

"The only thing that we are being told is that it's possible that it was something that they drank," said SDFRD Battalion Chief Robert Garcia. "A beverage, (like) milk or juice, we don't know."

Jack Brandais, a spokesman for the San Diego Unified School District, told 10News that school staff had checked dates on all milk and juices and nothing was out of date. The facility's refrigerators apparently were working properly, and no expired products were immediately found

Campus food-service personnel and county health workers were looking over and testing the cafeteria food and drinks. A hazardous materials team was summoned to the school to assist in the testing.

"They said it was food poisoning," said one concerned mother.

"She was throwing up and going to the bathroom a lot," added Allen, who was seen running from the school. "I am really worried so I am not going to stay long."

"Nothing is more important to us than the health of our students," Brandais said. "We'll get to the bottom of this."

The County Department of Environmental Health which had not yet determined the cause of the illnesses.

"There's only one person in my class who got sick, but she's OK," said student Joseph Gonzalez.

Garcia said the children were transported to area hospitals as a precaution because there were so many and because they're so young.

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