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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Campylobacter in Raw Milk

By February 20, 2013

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The Alaska Public Health Alert Network has issued a health advisory about an ongoing outbreak of Campylobacter infections that has been associated with drinking raw milk.

Among the people who are sick on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska include:

  • four confirmed cases
  • one probable case
  • one suspected case - an infant with close contact with a confirmed case

Campylobacter, a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever, can cause life-threatening infections in high-risk people, including infants.

Although selling raw milk is illegal in Alaska, people are still sometimes able to obtain it as part of cow sharing operations. Another Campylobacter outbreak that was linked to drinking raw milk from one of these cow shares  in Alaska got 18 people sick in 2011.

The Alaska state Department of Health and Social Services has not identified the farm cooperative that was the source of the contaminated raw milk, but they have hopefully contacted all of the people who received any of the milk.

Call the Alaska Division of Public Health's Section of Epidemiology if you or anyone if your family has consumed raw milk  in 2013 and developed a diarrheal illness at 1-800-478-0084. Or contact your own health care provider if you are currently experiencing symptoms that you think could be related to this raw milk outbreak. And remember that these types of outbreaks are one of the risks of drinking raw milk.

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