Minnesota Health Officials Identify Illnesses Linked to Raw Milk
Minnesota state health and agriculture officials reported today that routine disease surveillance has detected at least six illnesses linked to consumption of raw dairy products from the Dennis Jaloszyski dairy farm, near Cambridge, Minnesota.
According to epidemiologists with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the illnesses include three people with laboratory confirmation of a bacterium called Campylobacter jejuni. The illnesses were reported to MDH by health care providers as required under Minnesota law. When MDH contacted the individuals to inquire about potential causes of their illnesses, the ill people reported that they had consumed raw milk from the Jaloszynski Farm.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture inspectors visited the farm to determine how many customers were purchasing the milk to notify them of the outbreak. Because the owner did not have a customer list, a consumer advisory is being issued. Anyone who may have purchased or received raw milk from this farm should not drink it but should throw it away.
"We're concerned that people may be continuing to get sick after consuming products from this farm," said Trisha Robinson, a foodborne illness epidemiologist with MDH.
"While we are very concerned about the illnesses associated with this farm, this also is about the inherent risk for foodborne illness from any raw milk consumption," Robinson said. "Drinking raw milk or eating products made from raw milk can expose you to a variety of pathogens that can result in anything from a few days of diarrhea to kidney failure and death. People need to think carefully about those risks before consuming raw dairy products from any source, and people need to know that the risks are especially high for young children."
Common symptoms of Campylobacter infection include fever, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, malaise, and vomiting. Symptoms often begin 2-5 days after consumption of contaminated food. Symptoms last for about a week in most people but can last for up to three weeks in 20 percent of cases. In addition, Campylobacter infection occasionally results in complications such as arthritis and Guillain Barré syndrome, which is characterized by sudden onset of paralysis. Anyone who believes they may have become ill with Campylobacter should contact their health care provider.