By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Nov 29, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Nearly two dozen people were transported from the Rio casino and hotel to the hospital after reporting flu-like symptoms on Friday.
The Clark County Fire Department said emergency crews transported 13 children and five adults shortly after 10 a.m. Most of those feeling sick were part of a youth football league from Santa Monica, Ca., in town for the National Youth Football Championships.
It's unclear what caused the guests to get sick. Thousands of people are in Las Vegas this week for the youth games.
"I was very scared because I really didn't know what was going on," said Alastair Jones, coach of the Santa Monica Vikings Tiny Mites and parent of a sick 7-year-old son.
Cellphone video shows ambulances lining up outside the Rio Friday morning. Jones and parent Annalisa Johnson said they took their sons, both 7, in a shuttle to University Medical Center after the boys experienced flu-like symptoms that included vomiting and dizziness.
"We just want to figure out what it is," said Johnson. "We're just scared because we don't know what it is."
Johnson said most of the Vikings team stayed at the Rio but on different floors and ate at different restaurants.
"It could be a virus. It could be food borne," said John Steinbeck, CCFD battalion chief.
The Southern Nevada Health District is investigating the situation, said Jorge Viote, community outreach coordinator.
"The Rio is working closely with the CCFD to determine the cause," said Caesars Entertainment spokeswoman Celena Haas in a statement.
By late Friday, nearly 40 people from nine different teams were also reporting flu-like symptoms, said Justin Gates, vice president and competition director for Sports Network International, which organized the games. It's unclear where all 40 people stayed or whether it was the same hotel.
Gates said nearly 100 teams from around the country are competing in the games, which run from Thursday to Sunday. The teams reporting illness are both local and from other states, he said.
Gates said parents and players are in frequent contact with one another allowing viruses to spread easily.