Drug-resistant infections from food are growing. But powerful industry interests are blocking scientists and investigators from getting information they need to combat the problem.
It was 7 a.m. on Independence Day when a doctor told Rose and Roger Porter Jr. that their daughter could die within hours. For nearly a week, Mikayla, 10, had suffered intensifying bouts of fever, diarrhea and stabbing stomach pains.
That morning, the Porters rushed her to a clinic where a doctor called for a helicopter to airlift her to a major medical center.
The gravity of the girl’s illness was remarkable given its commonplace source. She had gotten food poisoning at a pig roast from meat her parents had bought at a local butcher in McKenna, Wash., and spit-roasted, as recommended, for 13 hours.
Mikayla was one of nearly 200 people reported ill in the summer of 2015 in Washington State from tainted pork — victims of the fastest-growing salmonella variant in the United States, a strain that is particularly dangerous because it is resistant to antibiotics.