By: Shelley Bortz/KDKA-TV
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Dozens of students are sick with some sort of stomach illness after a high school football banquet at a local hotel.
Parents say whatever they have, it's a lot like the stomach flu or food poisoning. The Allegheny County Health Department is investigating.
Sophomore Nish Alemada said he couldn't eat or drink anything for two days and lost 18 pounds after attending his team's banquet at the Marriott. Another player said he lost 10 pounds and missed two days of school.
"I was really nauseous, I threw up a lot, diarrhea too. I really felt like I needed to use the bathroom. I was really tired as well. I didn't have the energy to do anything," Alemada said.
Alemada is a defensive lineman on the South Fayette High School football team. He and dozens of other players and parents who attended the team's end-of-season banquet at the airport Marriott on Sunday were sickened within a day.
"I woke up Tuesday and had a stomach ache but I still went to school," he said. "Second period I went to the bathroom and threw up in school so I had to go to the nurse's office then go home."
The Allegheny County Health Department is investigating the cause of the gastrointestinal problems.
In a letter to banquet guests, the department says, "In order to best identify the cause of the illness, we need additional information from individuals who did and did not become ill."
In a statement, South Fayette Superintendent Michelle Miller said:
"We are working with the Department of Health as they investigate the incident. We are continuing to monitor the well-being of those who were in attendance."
Alemada's father, who was at the banquet but didn't get sick, said he expects better from one of the world's biggest hotel chains, like the Marriott.
"Honestly, this should not happen," he said.
The Marriott issued this statement:
"It appears that some guests from last weekend may be suffering from a norovirus. When we were notified, we immediately informed the Allegheny Public Health Department and out of an abundance of caution carried out the hotel's cleaning and disinfection protocols for both norovirus and covid, which we will continue for the near future. We sincerely wish anyone who is suffering a speedy recovery."
The health department is asking everyone who attended the banquet on Sunday — regardless if you got sick — to fill out a survey to help them best identify the cause.
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