(Last Updated On: October 13, 2019)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — More than 20 Central Election Commission officials have been taken to the hospital with health problems after opening five ballot boxes from Serbia, authorities in Kosovo said Sunday.

Twenty-six officials had allergic reactions and skin problems after opening the ballot boxes, local media Kosovapress reported. Emergency center doctors said all had itching and reddened skin.

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Naser Ramadani, head of the Public Health National Institute, said nine women, including two pregnant ones, were treated for itching and vomiting, adding that they were in stable condition.

A police spokesman confirmed the incident but declined to give details, saying they are investigating. The election commission spokesman declined to comment.

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Kosovo held snap elections a week ago which were won by a left-wing party. More than 300 ballot boxes are being recounted, and Sunday’s incident occurred at an office verifying the boxes being recounted in downtown Pristina.

Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence in 2008. It has been recognized by more than 100 countries but not by Serbia.

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The Serbian office for Kosovo in Serbia and the Belgrade-supported Serb List party in Kosovo called the incident a “manipulation” while the new Kosovo Cabinet is being formed.

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