Tainted Pork, Ill Consumers and an Investigation Thwarted


There, doctors determined that Mikayla had a systemic infection. She received intravenous hydration and antibiotics.

Tests came back from the national lab showing the drug-resistant salmonella strain.

Back in Washington, many others were also getting sick.

On July 19, Nicholas Guzley Jr., a police officer, ate pork at a restaurant in Seattle, and at 2 a.m. threw up in the shower. The medical ordeal that followed was so excruciating — vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, a fever of 103.9 degrees, dehydration and multiple hospital visits — that he said it was worse than a near-death experience in 2003 when he had been hit by a truck.

“If you stack up all the pain from all the injuries, this blew it away,” he said.

On July 23, the head of Washington’s Department of Health sent out an alert, warning that 56 people had fallen ill and publicizing an investigation into the outbreak by the state’s health and agriculture agencies, coordinating with the C.D.C. The Washington State epidemiologist, Dr. Scott Lindquist, took the lead.

On July 27, a restaurant had its permit suspended for food safety violations, including failure to keep its food hot enough. Multiple restaurants were identified as possible sources of tainted pork, along with several pig roasts.

Dr. Lindquist and his team discovered that many of the infected roast pigs had come from a slaughterhouse called Kapowsin Meats. Tests of 11 samples taken from slaughter tables, knives, hacksaws, transport trucks and other spots showed that eight were positive for the resistant strain.