On August 29, 2017, Clark County Public Health in Washington state was notified of five cases of Salmonella enterica serotype Paratyphi. So many cases of a relatively rare serotype of Salmonella occurring in one county at the same time unmistakably signaled an outbreak. This became further undeniable to public health investigators when twelve more cases were reported to the Oregon Health Authority. Genetic testing of isolates from all seventeen cases were indistinguishable, indicating a shared source of infection.
Investigators were able to interview fourteen of the seventeen cases, revealing that eleven of the cases had eaten raw fish in sushi before experiencing symptom onset. This prompted Environmental Health Specialists in Washington and Oregon to conduct an investigation, collecting samples from the sushi restaurants at which cases had eaten. The same rare Salmonella enterica serotype Paratyphi found in the infected cases was found in raw tuna, implicating tuna as the most likely source of the bacteria.
As a result of the Environmental Health investigation, the Oregon Department of Agriculture began investigating Relish Foods, Inc. on September 11, 2017. Tuna collected from Relish Foods, Inc. was found to contain Salmonella enterica serotype Paratyphi. October 19, after an additional seven cases had been identifies across several states, the FDA issued a recall of Relish Foods, Inc. tuna loins. The product had been distributed in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Arizona from August 15 to September 25, 2017.
Marler Clark is currently representing two individuals affected in the outbreak.