Several students out of school due to mysterious illness

Posted at 10:52 PM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-30 12:05:00-04

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District has launched an investigation into what has gotten several students in the area sick.  

Parents called the agency after several students had to be taken out of school due to a mystery illness.

Some students nicknamed the sickness "band plague." Now parents, students, and health officials wait to find out what exactly got the kids sick. 

Friday night, the Gatesville Hornets Marching Band took the field during halftime of the high school football game. They had a regional competition scheduled for the next day.

But at the beginning of the following week, several students were out sick, including Margaret Dunahoo's daughter Rachel. Dunahoo has two daughters in the band but only one of them got sick.

"Monday morning, she actually started to go to school and got sick before she even got out of our yard. She started throwing up and so then we knew something just wasn't right, we thought she had a stomach bug," Dunahoo said.

Last weekend, the girls performed with the band in another competition. Afterward, the students ate at a Waco buffet along with another high school band. Students from both schools were reported to have gotten sick with similar symptoms. While Rachel was sidelined Monday, she found out through social media she wasn't the only one needing the day off.

"Snapchat, everybody just Snapchatting there is like 20 people out of band, 24, 26," Rachel said. Parents of sick kids also took to the web.

"We have a really great Facebook page so all of us parents can stay connected with the what started off with just a few kids; I think the first count was 16 and then as the day wore on we lost more and more kids so I think we got more concerned," Dunahoo said. 

According to Waco-McLennan County Public Health Department, they received a call from concerned parents that the buffet may have given the students food poisoning. The restaurant was immediately inspected and deemed safe.

The health district is continuing their investigation into what may have gotten the kids sick. They are currently conducting interviews with all 26 of the schools who competed in the competition. Officials say the investigation is ongoing and will take some time to complete. 

In the meantime, Rachel said she and her peers are looking to end the season on a positive note. 

"I'm feeling a lot better, most of the people are back, I think it's going pretty good now," Rachel said. 

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