The Ohio Department of Health, several other states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of human Campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain.

The outbreak includes 39 people with laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection who live in 7 states (Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) and were exposed to puppies sold through Petland stores; 12 are Petland employees from four states and 27 either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that puppies sold through Petland stores are a likely source of this outbreak. Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.

Campylobacter can spread through contact with dog feces. It usually does not spread from one person to another.

Illnesses began on dates ranging from Sept. 15, 2016 through Aug. 12, 2017. The most recent illness was reported on September 1, 2017.

Ill people range in age from <1 year to 64 years, with a median age of 22 years; 28 (72%) are female; and 9 (23%) report being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory findings have linked the outbreak to contact with puppies sold through Petland stores. Among the 39 ill people, 12 are Petland employees from 4 states and 27 either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began.

Whole genome sequencing showed samples of Campylobacter isolated from the stool of puppies sold through Petland in Florida were closely related to Campylobacter isolated from the stool of an ill person in Ohio. Additional laboratory results from people and dogs are pending.

Live Science reports that several restaurants in the United States are serving up a raw chicken dish that’s referred to as either chicken sashimi or chicken tartare, according to Food & Wine Magazine. Though the “specialty” hasn’t caught on much in the U.S., it’s more widely available in Japan. Eating chicken sashimi puts a person at a “pretty high risk” of getting an infection caused by Campylobacter or Salmonella, two types of bacteria that cause food poisoning, said Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist and an associate professor at North Carolina State University.

Campylobacter infections are one of the most common causes of diarrheal infections in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The bacteria cause gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain, and in some cases can also cause nausea and vomiting, the CDC says. There are an estimated 1.3 million cases in the U.S. each year and fewer than 100 deaths, on average, each year from the infection.

Salmonella infections also cause symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, according to the CDC. About 1.2 million people contract Salmonella each year, and about 450 people die from the infection, the CDC says.

Chapman noted that eating raw chicken is different from eating raw fish, which can be found in sushi dishes. With raw fish, the germs that are most likely to make a person sick are parasites, and these parasites can be killed by freezing the fish, he said. Salmonella, on the other hand, “isn’t going to be affected by freezing.”

In Japan, where the dish is more popular, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare advised restaurants in June 2016 to “re-evaluate raw and half-raw chicken menus,” according to The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper. The ministry urged restaurants to cook chicken to an internal temperature of 75 degrees Celsius (167 degrees Fahrenheit). The recommendation from the ministry came after more than 800 people said they were sickened several months earlier after eating chicken sashimi and chicken “sushi” rolls, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

raw-milkThe Pueblo City-County Health Department, El Paso County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are jointly investigating an ongoing outbreak of Campylobacter infections linked to raw milk from Larga Vista Ranch in Pueblo County. The agencies are warning consumers that drinking unpasteurized milk can pose severe health risks and there is no method to assure the safety of raw milk.

Health officials have identified 12 confirmed and eight probable human cases of campylobacter since Aug. 1. The most recent onset of illness was September 16. All the individuals who were sickened reported drinking raw milk from Larga Vista Ranch. All 20 confirmed and probable campylobacter cases live in Pueblo and El Paso counties.

Campylobacter is a bacteria that is destroyed only by pasteurization. Symptoms of campylobacter infection include fever, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. People experiencing these symptoms should consult with their health care provider.

The state health department notified approximately 175 people who are participants in the Larga Vista cow share operation on Sept. 8 and will do so again today. Cow-share operations allow individuals to buy a share of a cow and in return receive raw, unpasteurized milk.

People are advised not to consume raw milk and raw milk products from Larga Vista and to discard any such products in their homes. The risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk is greater for infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of those sickened in this outbreak were not shareholders, but obtained raw milk from others who were. Shareholders are not permitted to redistribute the raw milk they receive.

The sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in Colorado. However, people may legally obtain raw milk by joining a herdshare (ownership of a cow, goat, or herd) program. Shareholders cannot distribute raw milk further.

Alejandros-TaqueriaSolano Health Department reports that a Mexican restaurant in Fairfield, California has been closed since Wednesday while an investigation continues into 32 confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection. Alejandro’s Taqueria on Texas Street in downtown Fairfield is to remain shut down until revised operations meet with approval from county health officials.

According to Deputy Health Officer Dr. Michael Stacey, Solano County has received an unusually high number of reports of abdominal illness this month.

“There have been increased reports of laboratory-confirmed campylobacteriosis since the beginning of June,” he stated. “So far, 32 campylobacter cases have been reported to us this month, almost double the number of reported cases that we had for the whole month of June in 2015.” A number of those people said they had eaten at Alejandro’s from May 26-29, according to health department reports, making the timeline for potential illness a few days before and after that period.

County health officials are not certain what food item might have caused the illnesses. They are still checking samples of cooked foods taken from the restaurant on June 8 and also continuing to investigate the reports of those sickened.

According to a health alert sent out June 6 by the Solano County Public Health Department, the most common sources of Campylobacter are the infected feces of animals or people, unpasteurized milk, and contaminated poultry, meat, water or other food products.

Infection with Campylobacter bacteria typically causes diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts about one week.

Some infected people do not have any symptoms but can transmit the illness to others. In those with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection.

CDFA_smallRaw milk produced by Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno County with a code date of OCT 24 is the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.  The quarantine order followed the confirmed detection of campylobacter bacteria in raw whole milk.  No illnesses have been reported at this time.

Under the recall, Organic Pastures Dairy brand Grade-A raw milk labeled with a code date of OCT 24 is to be pulled immediately from retail shelves, and consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product remaining in their refrigerators.

CDFA inspectors found the bacteria as a result of product testing conducted as part of routine inspection and sample collection at the facility.

September 2012 – Organic Pastures Raw Milk Linked to Campylobacter Test:

Raw milk, raw skim milk (non-fat) and raw cream produced by Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno County and with a code date of SEP 13 are the subjects of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones. The quarantine order followed the confirmed detection of campylobacter bacteria in raw cream. No illnesses have been reported at this time.

Under the recall, Organic Pastures Dairy brand Grade A raw cream, Grade A raw milk and Grade A raw skim milk, all with a labeled code date of SEP 13, are to be pulled immediately from retail shelves, and consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product remaining in their refrigerators.

CDFA inspectors found the bacteria as a result of product testing conducted as part of routine inspection and sample collection at the facility.

May 2012 – Organic Pastures Raw Milk Linked to Campylobacter Illnesses:

Raw milk, raw skim milk (non-fat), raw cream and raw butter produced by Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno County is the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Whiteford. The quarantine order came following the confirmed detection of campylobacter bacteria in raw cream.

Consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any Organic Pastures products of these types remaining in their refrigerators, and retailers are to pull those products immediately from their shelves.

From January through April 30, 2012, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that at least 10 people with campylobacter infection were identified throughout California and reported consuming Organic Pastures raw milk prior to illness onset. Their median age is 11.5 years, with six under 18. The age range is nine months to 38 years. They are residents of Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties. None of the patients have been hospitalized, and there have been no deaths.

According to CDPH, symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Most people with campylobacteriosis recover completely. Illness usually occurs 2 to 5 days after exposure to campylobacter and lasts about a week. The illness is usually mild and some people with campylobacteriosis have no symptoms at all. However, in some persons with compromised immune systems, it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection. A small percentage of people may have joint pain and swelling after infection. In addition, a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

2011 Organic Pastures E. coli Outbreak:

In November 2011, a cluster of five young children with Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 infection with matching pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns was identified. Illness onsets were from August 25 to October 25, 2011. All five children reported drinking commercially available raw (unpasteurized) milk from a single dairy (Organic Pastures) and had no other common exposures. Statistical analysis of case­ patients’ exposures with a comparison group of E. coli O157:H7 patients with non­ cluster PFGE patterns indicated a strong association with raw milk. The epidemiological findings led to a quarantine and recall of all Organic Pastures products except cheese aged more than 60 days, and investigations by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Food and Drug Branch (FOB) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Environmental samples collected at Organic Pastures yielded E. coli O157:H7 isolates that had PFGE patterns indistinguishable from the patient isolates. Organic Pastures raw milk consumed by the case-patients was likely contaminated with this strain of E. coli O157:H7, resulting in their illnesses.  Final Report.

Organic Pastures has been involved in recalls and outbreaks in the past:

Organic Pastures products were recalled for pathogens in 2006, 2007 and 2008. It was tied to a 2007 outbreak of Campylobacter. Most notably, it was quarantined in 2006 after six children became ill with E. coli infections – two with hemolytic uremic syndrome.  The State Report from 2006. 

See also, Raw Milk Myth Buster 1 – Organic Pastures 2006 Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak was caused by Spinach.

2006: 3 strains of E. coli O157:H7 cultured from OPDC heifer feces.  Press Release.

2007: 50 strains of Campylobacter jejuni plus Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter hyointetinalis, and Campylobacter lari cultured from OPDC dairy cow feces after eight people were sickened.  State Report.

2007: Listeria monocytogenes cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream.  Press Release.

2008: Campylobacter cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream.  Press Release.

For more about the risks of raw milk, see Real Raw Milk Facts Dot Com.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 4.50.56 PMOrange County has confirmed three cases of campylobacteriosis infection associated with consumption of raw goat milk distributed by Claravale Farm of San Benito County, California.  All three patients are young children less than 5 years of age.  One patient was hospitalized, and all of them are expected to recover.

The raw goat milk was distributed throughout the state, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is leading an investigation to determine if there are additional cases.  While the CDPH investigation is ongoing the Health Care Agency advises against consuming Claravale Farm raw goat milk.

There is always a risk of illness associated with consumption of raw, or unpasteurized, milk products.  The risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk is greatest for infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or HIV/AIDS. But, it is important to remember that healthy people of any age can get very sick if they drink raw milk contaminated with harmful germs.

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease caused by the Campylobacter bacteria. Outbreaks of Campylobacter disease have most often been associated with unpasteurized dairy products, contaminated water, poultry, and produce. Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism.

claravale-farm-raw-milkPlaintiff is Santa Cruz resident who was hospitalized and continues to suffer impairing side effects

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Santa Cruz resident John Surbridge who became ill with Campylobacter jejuni after drinking tainted raw milk products from Claravale Farm Company. The defendant, Claravale Farm Company, is based in San Benito County and sells dairy products in the state of California. Surbridge is represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle-based firm specializing food safety, and Rains, Lucia, Stern, PC of San Francisco.

On or around March 19, 2015, Surbridge drank Claravale Farms unpasteurized raw jersey milk, which was purchased by his roommate at a local farmers market.

A few days later, Surbridge began to feel the first symptoms of his illness, which developed into nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, increasingly intense chest pains, and shortness of breath. He began to run a fever that spiked to 103 degrees.

Over the next several days, his symptoms worsened with excruciating stomach and chest pains, uncontrollable diarrhea, and shortness of breath. He was transported via ambulance to the emergency room where, after examination, he was hospitalized for three days.

Soon after being discharged from the hospital, Surbridge was contacted by the Health Services Agency who informed him he had tested positive for Campylobacter. He also then learned of a press release issued on March 24, 2015 about a California Department of Public Health investigation tracing back the illnesses of six northern California residents to multiple bottles of Claravale Farm raw milk that tested positive for Campylobacter. After additional tests, it was confirmed that Surbridge’s illness stemmed from the raw milk he drank from Claravale Farm.

“There’s an assumption that raw milk is better for you, but the reality is that whatever benefits there might be are eliminated by the fact that it can kill you. There’s a reason mass pasteurization of dairy products is the norm—so that people aren’t putting their lives and health at risk by enjoying a glass of milk,” said Bill Marler, principal of Marler Clark. Marler has been working to help improve food safety standards for decades and has represented numerous victims of raw milk contamination.

Even after recovering from a Campylobacter infection, victims can experience side effects for months or years. Surbridge is still being seen regularly by doctors to monitor his recovery. He continues to suffer pain and numbness in his arms, legs, and fingers. He has a difficult time holding onto silverware, cups, and his cell phone. In addition, he continues to struggle with shortness of breath and now has difficulty digesting milk.

01 Claravale Farm MilkCalifornia Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today warned consumers that the consumption of unpasteurized (raw) dairy products may cause serious illness. Six Northern California residents have recently been diagnosed with campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that can come from consuming contaminated raw milk.

A recent investigation conducted by CDPH identified multiple bottles of Claravale Farm raw milk that tested positive for Campylobacter. Under the direction of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Claravale Farm has initiated a recall of the affected product.

Campylobacteriosis may cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting within two to five days after exposure to the organism.  Illness can last for up to a week or more and can be especially severe for those who have weakened or compromised immune systems, and for young children and the elderly. Although most people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely, some patients do suffer long-term effects, including arthritis and paralysis.

Raw milk is milk from cows, goats, sheep, or other animals that has not been pasteurized (heat treated) to kill harmful germs. A wide variety of germs that can make people sick have been found in raw milk, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, Salmonella, and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, including E. coli O157. E. coli O157 can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a sometimes deadly cause of anemia and potentially permanent kidney failure. Raw milk contaminated with disease-causing bacteria does not smell or look any different from uncontaminated raw milk, and there is no easy way for the consumer to know whether the raw milk is contaminated.

Over the past decade, CDPH, other states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have investigated numerous outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with consumption of raw milk and raw milk products. These have included outbreaks of illnesses due to Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella.  Many involved young children. Illnesses associated with raw milk continue to occur.

“WARNING: Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk dairy products may contain disease-causing microorganisms. Persons at highest risk of disease from these organisms include newborns and infants; the elderly; pregnant women; those taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antacids; and those having chronic illnesses or other conditions that weaken their immunity.”

In 2012 Claravale Farms was linked to 22 Campylobacter illnesses by CDPH.

352ClaravaleTopIn 2012 Claravale Farms was linked to 22 Campylobacter illnesses by CDPH.

Raw milk, raw nonfat milk and raw cream produced by Claravale Farm of San Benito County are the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.  The quarantine order came following the confirmed detection of campylobacter bacteria in Claravale Farm’s raw milk and raw cream from samples collected and tested by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product remaining in their refrigerators with code dates of “MAR 28” and earlier, and retailers are to pull those products immediately from their shelves.

CDPH found the campylobacter bacteria in samples collected as part of an investigation of illnesses that may have been associated with Claravale Farm raw milk.  No illnesses have been definitively attributed to the products at this time.  However, CDPH is continuing its epidemiological investigation of reported clusters of campylobacter illness where consumption of raw milk products may have occurred.

According to CDPH, symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.  Most people with camplylobacteriosis recover completely.  Illness usually occurs 2 to 5 days after exposure to campylobacter and lasts about a week.  The illness is usually mild and some people with campylobacteriosis have no symptoms at all.  However, in some persons with compromised immune systems, it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection.  A small percentage of people may have joint pain and swelling after infection.  In addition, a rare disease called Guillian-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

 

_65912134_fsaThe United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) today published the latest set of results from its year-long survey of Campylobacter on fresh chickens at retail.

The results to date show:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for Campylobacter within the highest band of contamination.
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.

More than 3,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have now been tested. The FSA’s 12-month survey, running from February 2014 to February 2015, will test around 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. The full set of results is expected to be published in May.

Wouldn’t be interesting if our government did the same?