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Hamilton woman speaks out after becoming ill following visit to Van Andel Arena

The Kent County Health Department says three people have reported being ill after attending an event at Van Andel Arena.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — The Kent County Health Department is investigating three reports from people who claim they became ill after attending an event at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. 

Kathryn Clare Drye, of Hamilton, says she attended the Grand Rapids Griffins game at Van Andel on Saturday with her family and got very sick after.

"We all split two things; it was a hamburger basket so it was hamburger and fries and then chicken strips and fries," Drye said.

Drye said she knew she wasn't alone in feeling sick when her husband, who she said never gets sick, also starting feeling ill. She said they got home around 10 p.m. Saturday, and by 11 p.m. her husband was in the bathroom vomiting and having diarrhea.

"I thought I must have got sick or something like stomach flu from work or whatever because I stay at home so I'm not out that often and within like probably three hours I was like 'oh man, I don't feel good.'"

The next day, Drye said her daughter also started to feel sick and was throwing up.

"I was like oh my gosh we all got sick," Drye said. "This is a problem."

Drye said her family used to be season ticket holders and never had a bad thing to say about them but after she and her family got sick she wanted to raise awareness about this incident.

She posted her story on Grand Rapids Informed Facebook page to see if others had the same experience and says that she heard from nearly a dozen women with the same claims. 

Drye said that the people she heard from said they also had eaten the same things, fried food. 

"The food wasn't right to me, I feel like it didn't taste like it's normal, like quality food," Drye said. "I've never gotten sick from eating there before."

"I just kind of thought in my head, I wonder if the Van Andel is serving like bad food or if their oil is bad that they fry everything," she said.

In a statement, Steve Kelso, with the Kent County Health Department said:

“The Kent County Health Department receives illness complaints regularly. Each complaint is investigated thoroughly in an attempt to determine what has caused the illness. When those investigations identify an outbreak and/or information that is valuable for the protection of public health the Kent County Health Department shares that information.”

A spokesperson for Van Andel Arena said in a statement:

"The safety and comfort of our guests is of the utmost importance."

If you think you or a family member has a foodborne illness, call your health care provider and report the symptoms to the Kent County Health Department by calling 616-632-7228 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.).  

You can use this link to file a report: https://www.accesskent.com/Health/FoodServices/foodborne_illness_reporting.htm

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