Outbreak of raw milk infected with Brucella in 19 states: CDC

by NCN Health And Science Team Last updated on March 29th, 2019,

Federal and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of raw milk tainted with Brucella, a drug-resistant bacteria which can cause serious complications such as heart problems, arthritis and miscarriage.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people in 19 states have bought or consumed the raw milk from Miller’s Biodiversity Farm, a members-only club in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, that sells dairy products to its members.

The CDC advises people to toss any raw milk or raw milk products from the farm. People who used such products from the farm since January 2016 may have been exposed and should talk to their doctor, the CDC stated. The infection can strike up to six months after exposure, meaning people who drank or ate the raw milk products within that time frame should monitor their health for symptoms, which include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and muscle and joint pain.

Authorities connected the farm to a Brucellosis infection (also called Mediterranean fever) in New York in November. An “unknown number” of people could have been exposed.

Raw milk, which skips the disease-killing pasteurization process, is favored by those who want more natural and unprocessed foods. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says raw milk can expose people to food-borne illness.

The strain under investigation, RB51, is used in a vaccine in order to protect against more severe forms of Brucella. The bacteria can sometimes make its way into the milk of a vaccinated cow, which can cause those who drink it to develop brucellosis. One cow now removed from the herd tested positive for RB51.

Miller’s Biodiversity Farm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The strain is resistant to first-line drugs, the CDC states, and it’s difficult to diagnose because early symptoms resemble the flu.

Two RB51 raw milk outbreaks occurred in 2017 in New Jersey and Texas.

States where people purchased the raw milk products include the following: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.

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