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Mysterious illness that can cause hallucinations hits Coos Bay

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Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2016/10/mysterious_illness_that_can_ca.html

A mysterious illness that can cause hallucinations has struck Coos Bay.

It all started Tuesday afternoon when a caregiver who works with a 78-year-old woman called 911. She reported that seven or eight people were trying to take the roof off her vehicle.

A deputy who showed up found nothing amiss, said Sgt. Patrick Downing, spokesman for the Coos Bay Sheriff’s Office.

The caregiver, 52, called back early Wednesday, reporting the same thing. This time the deputy who responded figured something was wrong and arranged to have another deputy with a more suitable vehicle take the caregiver to Coos Bay Hospital  on a mental health hold, Downing said.

Not long after the two deputies reported feeling nauseous, light-headed and euphoric. The elderly woman also came down with symptoms.

Everyone was hospitalized.

A haz-mat team checked the house but found nothing suspicious.

They figure it was the fentanyl, a powerful narcotic.

The 78-year-old woman uses fentanyl patches. Though all of the patches were accounted for, the deputies figured they still ended up being affected anyway, Downing said.

“They think they got exposed from handling and being in the same room with everybody,” he said.

The deputies have been discharged from the hospital. They’ll be assigned to desk duties for now. The caregiver is still hospitalized. Downing doesn’t know whether the elderly woman is still hospitalized.

He’s moved on to dealing with other strange incidents.

— Lynne Terry

lterry@oregonian.com

@LynnePDX