A little know BBQ danger has surfaced in Rhode Island. A number of people have ended up in the ER with extreme stomach pain, that resulted from wire grill brushes.

Wire bristles, which came from the metallic brushes used to clean grills, apparently ended up in barbecued beef or chicken that the patients ate, according to a report just released. From there, the bristles went to their throats and stomachs and caused serious medical issues.

"Certainly, we all love to grill, though I can't say for certain that Rhode Islanders grill anymore than other Americans. More likely, once we became aware of this problem we began looking for it, and if we don't specifically look for this we will not find it," said Dr David Grand, a radiologist at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.

Within an a year and a half period from 2009 to 2010, six patients were treat at the hospital with symptoms of abdominal pain or painful swallowing. The patients of various ages and genders didn't know the cause, although they'd all eaten grilled meats within the last two to 24 hours.

Scans or x-rays revealed metallic bristles in their necks or lower in their digestive systems. The bristles caused serious problems in some cases; for instance, a bristle perforated the stomach and liver of one patient who had to stay in the hospital for six days.

"Treatment for these patients involves removal of the wire," Grand said. "If the wire is lodged in the mouth or throat, this may be accomplished by an ear, nose and throat doctor or gastroenterologist who can use a small scope to find and remove the wire. If, however, the wire has perforated the intestine at the time of presentation, surgery with removal of the affected bowel segment will usually be required."

In each case, patients had reported eating food grilled on a barbecue that had been cleaned just before cooking. It seems that the bristles fell off the brushes, landed on the grill and ended up in the food.

Physicians recommended rinsing the grill after using a wire brush to remove bristles, or to use a stone brush to clean your grill.