More on Pig-Slaughter Neuropathy
New details regarding a progressive inflammatory neuropathy (PIN) in pork-slaughterhouse workers were revealed yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. The illness, according to lead investigator Daniel Lachance, MD, is a new disorder affecting primarily the sensory peripheral nerves and spinal nerve roots and is believed to result from an autoimmune reaction to inhaled, aerosolized pig brain. (For background info on “blowing brains” at the “head table,” click here).
The specific immune trigger for the illness has not been identified, although a previously unrecognized IgG autoantibody has been detected in all of the affected workers, according to Lachance. To date, PIN has been diagnosed in 18 workers in Minnesota, 5 in Indiana, and 1 in Nebraska. None of the affected workers (most of whom are Hispanic) has completely recovered, but some have experienced clinical improvement or stability.