CDC Public Health Alert
Although it is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk across state lines, federal officials say that people in 19 states have been infected with drug-resistant brucella after consuming raw milk from the Miller Biodiversity Farm in Pennsylvania.
In a nationwide food safety alert, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that anyone who has consumed raw dairy products from the farm in the past three years should consult their doctors. The Brucella outbreak strain (RB51) is resistant to rifampicin, one of the antibiotics commonly used to prevent or treat brucellosis.
CDC and state officials urge consumers to get rid of the raw dairy products from the Miller Biodiversity Farm they have in their homes.
"People who have consumed raw milk or raw dairy products from this dairy farm since January 2016 may have been exposed and should talk to their doctor," according to the CDC's food safety alert.
There is an even more immediate threat to health for people who have had raw unpasteurized dairy products from the Miller Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, PA, in recent months. Even if they have not developed symptoms of Brucella infection, they should seek medical attention immediately, according to the CDC.
"People who are still within six months of the date they last consumed raw milk have an increased risk of brucellosis and should receive antibiotics to prevent infections and symptoms, and should monitor their health to detect possible symptoms for six months. If symptoms develop, you should consult your doctor immediately to perform the tests, "says the CDC on alert.
"People who have taken raw milk from this dairy for the last time more than six months ago and have had symptoms of brucellosis, but have not received treatment, should see their doctor immediately for tests that can determine if they are infected and need antibiotics to prevent long-term health, problems caused by brucellosis. "
The CDC and state officials from the departments of health and agriculture have been investigating brucella infections among people who consumed raw dairy products since at least November 2018. At that time, public health officials confirmed a case of resistant brucellosis to the antibiotics of the specific strain RB51 in a New York Patient
"… an unknown number of people may have been exposed to the RB51 for drinking milk from this farm (Miller Biodiversity Farm) .A cow with a positive result for RB51 has been eliminated from the milking herd," according to the the CDC.
The researchers discovered that people in 19 states bought or consumed raw milk from the Pennsylvania farm. The CDC alert did not report how unpasteurized raw milk had been transported or sold illegally across state boundaries. The 19 states are 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.
Health officials confirmed two other human cases of brucellosis in October 2017 in New Jersey and in August of 2017 in Texas, according to the CDC. Those patients reported that they drank raw milk from an online retailer and from a Texas farm, respectively.
The three confirmed cases in New York, New York and Texas mean that hundreds of other people have been potentially exposed to RB51, the CDC said.
The CDC alert encourages people who have consumed raw milk from Miller Biodiversity Farm or other unpasteurized dairy products made with it to observe the symptoms of the infection. In addition, people who serve raw dairy products to children should monitor them for symptoms. Anyone serving raw dairy products to guests should notify these people of the risk of Brucella infection.
Initial symptoms of brucellosis may include fever, sweating, loss of appetite, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and potentially more serious complications.
- Symptoms can start from five days to six months after exposure.
- In some patients, the symptoms may develop and then disappear, only to develop repeatedly over the next several months.
- In pregnant patients, brucella infections can cause a miscarriage.
- Children are at higher risk because their immune systems are not fully developed.
People who are infected but not treated can develop more serious complications such as arthritis; Heart problems; enlargement of the spleen or liver; and, in rare cases, nervous system problems, such as meningitis.
(To subscribe to a free subscription to Food Safety News, Click here.)