Dozens of Kansans Report Intestinal Infection Caused by Raw Milk

Story by 49 News staff; KTKA TV, Topeka, Kansas
Aired on December 4, 2007

Two separate outbreaks of campylobacteriosis made at least 87 people sick.

Kansas allows raw milk to be sold within the state, but health officials want you to be aware of the health risks that come with consuming raw milk.

Campylobacteriosis is an intestinal infection caused by the bacteria Campylobacter. Infection often causes diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, headache and muscle pain.

In the first outbreak in southwest Kansas, 68 people became ill after eating cheese made from raw (unpasteurized) milk donated by a local dairy for a community celebration. Nineteen people were ill enough to seek medical attention, and two people were hospitalized. Four of these persons tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni; no other food items served at the event were associated with illness.

The second outbreak is linked to a dairy in south central Kansas that sells raw milk directly to consumers. As of November 30, 2007, 19 cases of campylobacteriosis had been reported. Each person reported drinking raw milk purchased from the dairy.

Although most people with campylobacteriosis recover within seven to 10 days, rare complications such as reactive arthritis, hemolytic uremic syndrome and Guillian-Barre syndrome can develop.

Pasteurization is the only effective method for eliminating disease-causing bacteria in raw milk and milk products. It is a simple process that involves heating the milk to a high temperature for a short period of time.

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