The Salmonella outbreak in Washington state that has sickened at least 61 people in eight counties may be linked to whole roasted pigs. The pigs were apparently served at several private events around the state.
Those sickened live in King, Snohomish, Mason, Thurston, Pierce, Grays Harbor, Yakima, and Clark counties. Five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. All of those sickened have the same strain of Salmonella bacteria.
Investigators continue to look at food and environmental sources for the pathogenic bacteria. The outbreak is linked to either pork consumption or contamination from raw pork.
Cross-contamination is a common cause of food poisoning. When raw meats or eggs come into contact with food that is not cooked before eating, such as fruits and vegetables, the bacteria easily transfers. Then when people eat those raw foods, they can become ill. Foods can also become contaminated after cooking. If raw pork comes into contact with cooked pork, for example, and then the cooked pork is not held at a safe temperature, the cooked meat will be contaminated and can make people sick.
Salmonella symptoms include fever, chills, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be bloody and/or watery. If the bacteria get into the bloodstream, sepsis, a serious infection, can occur. Usually about 20% of those sickened with Salmonella bacteria need to be hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe.
If you live in Washington state and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. She will order tests to see if the bacteria has caused your illness.
If you do have a Salmonella infection, the illness will be reported to the state. To solve these outbreaks, it’s important that everyone sickened is included in the case count. Your case may offer a clue that will solve the outbreak. In addition, the long term consequences of a Salmonella infection can be serious, including irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Your doctor should know about this illness.