Eleven Minnesota pork plant workers have been hospitalized with what is thought to be a neurological illness acquired from pig brains they are employed to remove at an Austin packing plant.
Symptoms include numbness and tingling in their arms and legs. Doctors characterize the disease's symptoms as being “consistent with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy”. Steroids and immunosuppressants are being used to treat it.
Only workers removing brains from hog heads are currently affected. Those workers are now being supplied with better protective clothing and are no longer using compressed air to remove the brains. Prions (mad cow disease) are not a suspected cause.