Unknown Illness Spreads to Five People in Oregon

The Coos County Haz Mat Team responded to Bay Area Hospital and the residence on East Bay Road. The team cleared the emergency room and provided a protocal to the sheriff's office to decontaminate vehicles and equipment. (Coos County Sheriff's Office)
Coos County Sheriff's Office
Coos County, OR

Five people fell ill in Oregon from an unknown hazardous material that appears to cause hallucinations and be spread by contact.

A hazmat team has responded after symptoms spread from a woman to deputies, a person under the woman’s care, and a hospital employee, KCBY reported.

The Coos Bay Hazmat Team has not found the source of the contamination, but it appears to be spreading through contact and not the air, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office said.

A 57-year-old woman called police at 3 a.m. Wednesday to report vandalism on her car outside the home in North Bend where she works as a caregiver for a 78-year-old person, but nothing was found, the sheriff’s office said.

When deputies got a similar call at 5:30 a.m. from the same woman, they suspected she might be having hallucinations caused by a medical issue.

The woman was taken to the hospital for an examination and was later released after she appeared to be fine.

One of the deputies displayed similar symptoms and had to be hospitalized.

Soon, the other deputy, the 78-year-old cared for by the initial patient, and a hospital employee started showing similar symptoms and had to be hospitalized.

The Coos Bay Hazmat Team responded to the hospital and the woman’s residence in order to decontaminate the units.

Everyone involved was quarantined while the hazmat team conducted their investigation.

“Initial investigations believed that a medication used in patch form may have been the source. Investigation [sic] has found that all those patches and potential medications that may have caused the symptoms have been accounted for,” Sgt. Pat Downing said in a press release.

“No source of the contamination has been found. The vehicles, equipment and uniforms have been checked with no contaminates [sic] identified or located on or about them,” he added.

Both deputies were treated and released from the hospital.

The hospital worker is still being monitored because she displayed flu-like symptoms, and the 52-year-old woman and her 78-year-old client are still under care at the hospital, according to Sgt. Downing.