Nearly 50 People Suffer Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Church

( – Dozens of people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at a Mormon Church in Utah over the New Year weekend. The Sunday service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse in Monroe was disrupted when a 4-year-old girl became ill, soon followed by others complaining of headaches.

Paramedics were called and more than 50 people were treated, with 22 requiring hospital admission. Local police said not enough ambulances were available to transport the sick to hospitals, so emergency services personnel from neighboring counties stepped in to help.

Local fire department officers confirmed carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause.

Church spokesperson Sam Penrod said, “The Church is working to support medical and other expenses for those affected. We are concerned for the well-being of everyone impacted and are praying for their recovery.”

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is comprised of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. It is derived from several sources, both natural and manufactured, including household and garden appliances such as lawnmowers, stoves, and furnaces.

It causes harm to humans by disrupting cell metabolism and depriving the body’s cells of oxygen. It can cause significant damage to all tissues and organs, but it can have a particularly dangerous impact on the heart, brain, and central nervous system.

The Mayo Clinic describes poisoning as a process by which the body replaces the oxygen in the blood cells with carbon monoxide, and symptoms include headache, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting, loss of muscle control, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. It can also lead to longer term effects, even post-treatment, such as memory loss, movement problems, or personality change.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,244 people in the US died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2022. Alaska, Nebraska, and West Virginia have the highest death rates in the country, and the number of number of deaths increased 85.7% from 2012 to 2022.

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