For immediate release: Mar 26, 2010 12:00:00 EST
Posted by: [ISDH]
Contact: Jennifer Dunlap, Indiana State Department of Health
Phone: 317-431-3792

State Agencies Warn of Outbreaks Related to Drinking Raw Milk

Latest outbreak of Campylobacteriosis in Midwest is linked to unpasteurized product

Latest outbreak of Campylobacteriosis in Midwest is linked to unpasteurized product

INDIANAPOLIS--- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, is alerting consumers to an outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with drinking raw milk.  At least 12 confirmed illnesses have been recently reported in Michigan. The raw milk originated from Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury.  Currently, state health officials report three confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis in Indiana related to the outbreak. 

"People should not consume any raw (unpasteurized) milk or milk products," said State Epidemiologist Pam Pontones.  "Raw milk may contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria - including not only Campylobacter, but also Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, and Brucella.  These may cause illness and possibly death, especially for the very young, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immunity."

The FDA is collaborating with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, the Indiana State Department of Health, the Michigan Department of Community Health, and the Illinois Department of Public Health to investigate the outbreak.  State health officials are asking residents of Indiana who may have milk from Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury to submit it to the Indiana State Department of Health for free testing by calling (317) 233-7360.

According to Pontones, most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis develop diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts one week.  If consumers of raw milk are experiencing one or more of these symptoms after consuming raw milk or food products made from raw milk, they should contact their health care provider immediately.

"Most people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely within two to five days, although sometimes recovery can take up to 10 days," said Pontones.  "In persons with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection."

Raw milk is unpasteurized milk from hoofed mammals, such as cows, sheep, or goats. Public health authorities, including FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have expressed concerns about the hazards of drinking raw milk for decades.

Since 1987, the FDA has required all milk packaged for human consumption to be pasteurized before being delivered for introduction into interstate commerce. Pasteurization, a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, kills bacteria responsible for diseases, such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. FDA's pasteurization requirement also applies to other milk products, with the exception of a few aged cheeses.

From 1998 to 2008, 85 outbreaks of human infections resulting from consumption of raw milk were reported to CDC. These outbreaks included a total of 1,614 reported illnesses, 187 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. Because not all cases of foodborne illness are recognized and reported, the actual number of illnesses associated with raw milk likely is greater.

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