Just three days after the reopening of the New Jersey courthouse where dozens were sickened by mysterious fumes, about a dozen more people have reported the same symptoms.
Last week, the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold was thoroughly cleaned, and subjected to a battery of air-quality tests which showed no evidence of dangerous levels of common or less-common chemicals.
About a dozen new cases involving the same symptoms that sent workers to the hospital nearly two weeks ago were reported on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Winnie Comfort, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey courts.
The courthouse was closed again June 18, after 25 people were hospitalized and roughly 40 more treated for the same symptoms.
On the first day it reopened Tuesday, four sheriff's deputies complained of illness, and two were taken to CentraState Medical Center for treatment, They were not hospitalized.
Several more workers fell ill Wednesday, and at least one was taken by ambulance to CentraState. The person taken by ambulance has pre-existing medical conditions that may have been triggered by something else, officials noted.
"The same symptoms that we saw when we had the mass number of patients -- chest tightness, throat tightness, transient rash," said Dr. Michael Jones, CentraState's chairman of emergency medicine.
The Freehold courthouse was first closed June 15, when 17 staffers reported nausea, skin rash, breathing difficulty and chest pain.
Last week, officials decided to close the courthouse while the New Jersey Health Department conducted tests for a wide range of harmful chemicals. All results were within normal ranges, according to state officials, and the courthouse reopened Tuesday.
The illnesses that have been reported appear to be a response to some sort of irritant. County officials can't think of anything else that can be done.
"The courthouse is open, the building is clean, the building is safe and we're very confident about that," said Bill Heine, spokesman for Monmouth County.
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