Possible Food Poisoning Sickens 57 in Costa Mesa

Times Staff Writer

Attendance at a medical-products conference apparently wasn’t enough to prevent 57 people from coming down with a mysterious intestinal ailment at a Costa Mesa hotel, Orange County health officials said Thursday.

“No one was hospitalized,” said Howard Sutter, a spokesman for the Orange County Health Care Agency. While he declined to “make a judgment” on how serious the illness was, Sutter added that “every time I get sick to the stomach, it’s serious to me. I’m sure that people are at different stages of their illness.”

The outbreak came to the agency’s attention, he said, about 10 a.m. Thursday after some members of a group of 247 people attending the conference at the Hilton Costa Mesa reported symptoms of a possible food-borne illness, including vomiting and diarrhea.


“We conducted an inspection of the premises,” Sutter said, “and there was nothing found bearing any obvious relationship to the illnesses. The hotel kitchen remains open, and its food services continue.”

County epidemiologists will begin interviewing sick people today to unravel the mystery, he said.

“There obviously were a number of people who were at the same meetings and ate the same food who did not become ill,” Sutter said.

“We will try to determine if there are any common factors” among those who did.