Several students sick following Waukesha North High School prom

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Waukesha health officials are investigating following reports of more than a dozen students who attended prom this past weekend getting sick.

A letter from Waukesha North High School was sent to parents saying the school learned on April 12, "there were several reports of students experiencing gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting and diarrhea."

The school noted not all the reports were from students who attended the prom on April 9, but more than a dozen reports of gastrointestinal issues were from students who attended the event.

"As a result, the School District of Waukesha has been in contact with the County of Waukesha Department of Health, which has now begun an investigation," the letter read.

"I was like really excited about prom," North junior Cailey Montney told CBS 58.

Montney attended the event on April 9 and was enjoying the evening but had concerns, along with her friends, when dinner was served at the Brookfield Conference Center.

"My friend ordered the chicken. The chicken looked very undercooked, it was like pink on the inside," Montney said. "A lot of people didn’t end up eating because they didn't like the way it tasted."

The high school junior said she had ordered a different menu option and was not concerned. But two days later, woke up feeling nauseous.

"I ended up throwing up so much I lost a lot of fluid, my mom took me to urgent care [and] they sent me to the ER to get fluids and IV," Montney said.

Montney then learned several of her friends had also gotten sick following prom. She said hospital staff told her it was likely a virus or food poisoning. Montney suspects possible cross contamination because while she had a steak option, friends who got sick also included those who got the chicken and vegetarian options.

Others also learned of the spread of the illness.

"On Monday, the following day or two after they had prom, almost half of my friends had called in sick to work because they were all experiencing really bad stomach aches," said Taylor Grieger, a former Pewaukee High School student who works with current Waukesha North students.

Grieger attended Pewaukee's prom in 2021 at the same venue, the Brookfield Conference Center.

"I actually had to leave prom early," Grieger said. "I left around seven, eight o'clock because I just was not feeling good."

Grieger said she was frustrated last year's, and this year's, incidents had parallels, including skepticism by some in the community of the legitimacy of the illness.

Brookfield Conference Center sent the following statement to CBS 58:

"The Brookfield Conference Center is dedicated to providing our guests with a safe and secure environment. We take all health and safety concerns very seriously. We are working with the Waukesha County Health Department and have offered our full cooperation to assist in their investigation and we are committed to working with them to determine a cause."

Waukesha County Public Health sent this statement:

"Waukesha County Public Health has opened an investigation into a potential increase in illness following the Waukesha North High School prom on Saturday, April 9th. Public Health is conducting this investigation in collaboration with the school, Waukesha County Environmental Health, and the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. At this time, there are no current findings to share nor any other specifics."

Parents of students who suspect illness from the dinner served at prom on April 9 are encouraged to call the Waukesha County Department of Health & Human Services at 262-896-8430.

Below is a copy of the letter sent to parents from Waukesha North High School:

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