Pearl Catering Shigella Outbreak Lawsuits - Oregon (2018)

On August 14, 2018 the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Yamhill County Health and Human Services received reports of several people with gastrointestinal illness days after attending a wedding and reception in Yamhill County on August 11. The wedding which took place at the Maysara Winery, was catered by a company called Pearl Catering.  

By August 15, ten cases had been reported to the OHA. Many of the attendees voluntarily submitted stool samples to be tested.  

Fecal samples were cultured and isolates serotyped at the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory.  On August 20, Shigella flexneri type 3a was identified as the bacteria causing the illnesses. After conducting an extensive investigation which included 200 surveys of the wedding attendees, the health department concluded that asparagus was the most likely cause of the outbreak.

Of the 263 wedding attendees and staff, 112 people were sickened, and 10 were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. This is the second-largest foodborne outbreak of S.flexneri infections reported in the U.S. since 1988.  

Marler Clark represented 40 individuals who became ill during this outbreak.  All the cases were successfully settled by December of 2019.