Gummy candies sicken 19 at quinceañera

A total of 19 people have been hospitalized, including three children in intensive care, after apparently ingesting gummy candy containing a still-undetermined substance at a children’s party in San Francisco on Saturday, a fire department spokesman said.

They all became sick after attending a quinceañera party at the Women’s Building at 3543 18th St. in the Mission District, San Francisco fire spokesman Jonathan Baxter said.

The fire department first responded to reports of people getting sick at the party at 10:22 p.m., Baxter said. The symptoms included heart palpitations, shortness of breath, anxiety and in some cases a swollen tongue and rash.

A total of 19 people were taken to hospitals. Three young children, including a 9-year-old boy, needed to be treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit, Baxter said.

The common thread among all the patients is that they had eaten gummy candy left out at the party. The candy did not have any labels or markings that investigators could use to trace where it came from, Baxter said.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health will test the candy for any dangerous substances. Baxter said he couldn’t speculate on what it might contain that caused the party attendees to become sick.

The fire department is working closely with public health officials on the investigation and they will release more information once the testing is complete, Baxter said.