An annual Mother’s Day event at a Buddhist monastery in rural Putnam County, NY, was interrupted yesterday afternoon as participants began suffering gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. The event drew hundreds to the Chuang Yen Monastery, and delawareonline.com states that about 500 arrived by bus from New York City’s Chinatown. Food for the event was provided by volunteers, similar to a pot luck supper.
Susan Hoffner, a spokesperson for the Putnam County Health Department, states that approximately 150 people were taken ill. Symptoms of the illness include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and dehydration. Many became ill after they left the event. By evening, the Times Herald-Record states that local emergency services had received reports of dozens of cases of illness in travelers between the monastery and New York City. The outbreak is believed to be caused by some form of food poisoning.