Sick Indiana pork workers may hold clues to Minn. caseby Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota Health officials say the neurological illnesses of several workers at a pork slaughterhouse in Indiana may help solve a medical mystery in Minnesota.
Indiana officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control to determine if cases in Indiana are similar to illnesses found in workers at a southern Minnesota pork plant.
Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Minnesota State Epidemiologist, says there's been concern that there were similar cases elsewhere. She says she hopes the new cases will be helpful in the investigation.
"By having more cases and a case occurring elsewhere, it can help us pinpoint what the cause of the illness is and why people have gotten ill," says Dr. Lynfield.
Last year 12 workers at a pork slaughterhouse in Austin suffered neurological symptoms. Lynfield says the plants in Minnesota and Indiana and another in Nebraska use a similar compressed air process to remove pigs' brains.
The plants have voluntarily stopped using that process. Lynfield says Minnesota will be working with Indiana to evaluate the illnesses.