Ron Bonds lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and published books on unsolved mysteries and unexplained phenomena, from the Kennedy assassination to the ominous black helicopters of the New World Order. In the subculture of the paranormal, his reputation was such that writers for "The X-Files" used to call him for ideas.
In April 2001, fifteen hours after eating a meal with warm beef from a Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, after an agonizing evening of vomiting and diarrhea, Bonds was taken by ambulance from their home to Grady Memorial Hospital. During an autopsy, the medical examiner found copious amounts of blood in the bowels, so he sent a stool sample to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory in Decatur. The lab discovered high levels of Clostridium perfringens Type A, a bacterium often seen in small quantities in beef and poultry. When it occurs in larger quantities – anything above 100,000 organisms per gram is considered unsafe – it can release toxins that cause diarrhea, vomiting and, rarely, hemorrhaging. The bacterium figures in 250,000 cases of food poisoning a year, the CDC estimates, only seven of which result in death.
Four days after Bonds ate there, epidemiologists visited El Azteca to collect samples of ground beef from the steam table. When Clostridium perfringens becomes dangerous, it usually has to do with cooked meat being held at too low a temperature. The lab found 6 million organisms per gram – 60 times the safety threshold.
But the obvious question is: Why didn't others eating at the same restaurant get sick too?