(RepublicanView.org) – Dozens of worshippers suffered carbon monoxide poisoning at a Mormon church in Utah over the New Year weekend. The incident happened at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse in Monroe and left 22 in need of hospital admission and nearly 50 requiring treatment overall. The Church said the cause was a malfunction of the building’s heating system.
During the service, a 4-year-old girl became ill, soon followed by two others who complained of headaches. Paramedics were called, but the Monroe Sheriff’s Department said there were not enough ambulances to transport everyone, so police officers and emergency medical workers from neighboring counties stepped in to help. The local fire department 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 an odorless, colorless gas that is thinner than the air we breathe. Chemically, it is formed of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. It is derived from natural and manufactured sources, and its fumes can come from vehicles, garden implements such as lawnmowers, and domestic appliances, including stoves and furnaces.
It is harmful to humans because it disrupts cell metabolism and can deprive our body’s cells of oxygen, affecting tissue and organs and causing a significant 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 that is taken into the body via the breath. Symptoms depend on the degree of exposure, but immediate signs include headache, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting, loss of muscle control, blurred vision, and, eventually, loss of consciousness. It can still have an impact even after treatment, and long-term effects include memory loss, personality change, and problems with movement.
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