The Alaska Division of Public Health reports on a recent and potentially ongoing outbreak of Campylobacter infections that have been associated with consuming raw milk. Since late January 2013, four people with confirmed Campylobacter infection and at least one person with probable infection reported consuming raw (unpasteurized) milk in the few days preceding illness. One infant with close contact to a confirmed case-patient is also suspected of having Campylobacter infection. All six reside on the Kenai Peninsula. The Campylobacter isolated from the four lab-confirmed cases are a match by molecular techniques (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE). This strain of Campylobacter has not been previously identified in Alaska.
Outbreaks of Campylobacter are often associated with consumption of unpasteurized milk —one such outbreak, traced to a Mat-Su Valley farm, resulted in 18 illnesses in Alaska in 2011. Other sources of Campylobacter infection include consumption of undercooked meat, consumption of food or water cross-contaminated by raw meat, or contact with feces from infected animals. Human to human transmission can also occur.