Illness Outbreak Causes Evacuation of Jefferson City School

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JEFFERSON CITY - After several students developed a rash at a Jefferson City catholic school Wednesday morning, emergency officials asked the school to close for the day as they work to find what caused the illness.

Mike Shirts from Cole County Emergency Medical Services said emergency personnel headed to St. Joseph's Cathedral School around 8:30 a.m.

Shirts said calls indicated about a dozen students felt light-headed after a morning service and developed a rash. Some students fainted and one student was taken to the emergency room.

Shirts said the students who were not taken to the ER were checked out and eventually released.

Officials from the Jefferson City fire and police departments, the Cole County Health Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene.

Shirts said officials have conducted several air and water quality tests, but so far those tests have not identified a cause.

"With every testing capability we have and have utilized there is nothing that points us in a direction of where or what," Shirts said. "It's definitely isolated and it's most definitely unique."

St. Joseph's principal Spencer Allen said the school is waiting on one final test, a test that identifies water bacteria. Shirts said it will take 24 hours for that test to be completed.

Allen said St. Joseph's will resume with classes Thursday, but he does not want students to consume the water. The school will bring in bottled water.

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to clarify that all except one student were released, and to reflect the incident occurred Wednesday morning and classes will resume on Thursday. The previous version indicated the incident occurred Tuesday. 

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