The outbreak of Salmonella infections that may be linked to pork products has grown to 90 cases in several counties around the state. The ongoing outbreak is under investigation by state, local, and federal public health agencies. Illnesses have been reported from King, Pierce, Yakima, Clark, Thurston, Mason, Kitsap and Grays Harbor Counties.
With the increase in cases, state health officials have asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to send a special team to help with the investigation. This team of “disease detectives” will arrive in Washington next week.
Disease investigators are searching for possible exposure sources from farm to table. An apparent link to pork consumption or contamination from raw pork is the strongest lead, though no specific source has yet been found. The likely source of exposure for some of the ill people appears to have been whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events.
The cases, many of which are in King County, appear to have been caused by the same rare strain of Salmonella bacteria, health officials said. The outbreak is linked to Salmonella I, 4, 5, 12:i:-, a germ that has been emerging nationally but has never before been seen in Washington state.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella that may be associated with pork products, specifically whole pigs used for pig roasts.
FSIS was notified of Salmonella I 4,,12:i- illness clusters (groups of illnesses) on July 15, 2015. FSIS suspects that there is a link between the illnesses associated with whole pigs used for pig roasts and eight illness clusters based on information gathered in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Case-patients have been identified in Washington with illness onset dates ranging from April 25, 2015 to July 21, 2015.