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Recent Bacterial Infection Cases Linked to Raw Milk
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 08/31/2009

State public health officials are cautioning residents to discard any unpasteurized milk they have in their homes after 13 confirmed cases of illness were linked to such products in southeastern Wisconsin. According to a joint statement by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the individuals have tested positive for campylobacter jejuni--a bacterial infection that causes gastro-intestinal symptoms and fever and that occasionally leads to severe complications.

There are other people in the same households who are ill, but those test results are not yet available, officials said.

The illnesses occurred between August 14-20. Officials say all the victims had consumed raw milk or been in households where someone else consumed raw milk and became ill. Campylobacter can be passed between people as well as being contracted directly from contaminated food.

Campylobacter jejuni bacteria cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever and vomiting. Rarely, it can lead to temporary arthritis or paralysis, generally after the initial symptoms have disappeared.

Officials say anyone who has these symptoms and has recently consumed unpasteurized milk or dairy products should contact their doctor. To prevent spreading Campylobacter bacteria, follow proper hand-washing procedures and wash down bathroom and kitchen surfaces with an antibacterial agent.

DATCP is also reminding farmers and consumers that selling or distributing raw milk and raw milk products is illegal in Wisconsin.

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