CLIVE, Iowa — The workday for some people inside a metro pharmacy included a trip to the hospital on Friday afternoon, after seven employees fell mysteriously ill inside a Walgreens in Clive.
What caused them to become sick, however, is still a question emergency crews are asking.
Just after 3 p.m., Haz-Mat crews scoured the Walgreens on 128th and University, trying to figure out what caused the employees to be sent to the hospital with vomiting, dizziness, and headaches.
“Once they were in fresh air, no further treatment was necessary as far as we’ve been told,” said Clive Fire Chief Rick Roe.
The Haz-Mat team was able to rule out carbon monoxide and natural gas, and as far as they could tell there was nothing wrong, leaving the cause of the incident a mystery.
“The employees weren’t sick when they came to work, we made sure they weren’t sharing the same amount of food, we made sure there weren’t any spills, we made sure they weren’t doing any unusual mixing of pharmaceuticals, we just slowly ruled all of that out,” said Roe. “Our theory is that something may have been brought in from the outside air through the air handling systems, so they’re bringing in some crews to look at that and see if there’s anything that needs to be cleaned or filtered out of there.”
With people still working to figure what caused it, officials say they’re relieved they didn’t find anything hazardous.
“Sometimes in our line of work that is a happy thought, because there is nothing hazardous in the building that could make people, employees, customers potentially sick,” said Nola Aigner with the Polk County Health Department.
Still, customers who showed up after the crews left were happy Walgreens decided to shut down for the night.
“It’s pretty scary, I mean, this is somewhere I frequently go and I wouldn’t want to see anything bad happen to anyone who didn’t know what was going on,” said Jordan Grimm, who had to find a different pharmacy to pick up his daughter’s prescription.
Aigner says Polk County Health will continue monitoring the building.