SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A group of pupils who fell ill at a Lomita-area primary/middle school this week apparently made themselves sick by vying to outdo each other in creating and drinking nauseating liquid concoctions during lunch, a school district representative said Friday.
The stomach-turning horseplay Thursday at Audubon K-8 School on San Vicente Street seemingly began with some fourth-graders challenging one another to mix milk with various substances -- salt, pepper, hot sauce and other condiments and food -- and then chug the repulsive results, according to Jack Brandais, spokesman for San Diego Unified School District.
"And it didn't go well," he said.
Soon, some of the students started vomiting, and more than a dozen others were complaining about being sick to their stomachs. Ultimately, 22 youngsters from kindergarten through seventh grade reported feeling ill, and city paramedics were called.
Ambulance crews took 18 of the children to hospitals, where they were evaluated and released. The other four were immediately turned over to their parents.
Personnel with the county Health and Human Services Agency were called in to look over the school's cafeteria, which had served 425 meals Thursday. The investigators, who found no immediate sign of any problems with the facility, were expected to issue their final conclusions about the incident next week.
"There's no evidence of any ongoing public health threat," Brandais said.
School officials theorized that some of the youngsters who complained about digestive distress might have been feeling "sympathy pains" with those losing their lunches, and some merely could have been taking advantage of a handy opportunity to get out of class, the spokesman said.