UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- Nearly a dozen county employees were hospitalized Thursday morning, complaining of headaches, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

A county spokesperson tells NBC Charlotte that a strong odor was noticed in the County Health Department and DSS offices around 9:30 Thursday morning.

Authorities say employees in those buildings have been sent home for the day after 11 people went to the hospital feeling ill.

Crews are working to determine the source of the odor, and county officials tell NBC Charlotte they are looking into the possibility that two large grease bins that were found in a dumpster behind another business that are currently sitting outside the building's air-handling system may be a contributing factor.

We'll update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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