New Jersey Department of Health reported that it currently has two residents that are ill in connection to a major outbreak caused by the consumption of raw milk from a Pennsylvania farm, Family Cow Dairy.
Currently 78 people in four states have become ill with campylobacteriosis, a gastrointestinal illness, from the consumption of the raw milk contaminated with bacteria. Pennsylvania Department of Health officials said Thursday that the total number of cases continued to increase. The department has identified 68 cases in Pennsylvania, five in Maryland, two in New Jersey and three in West Virginia.
The bottled raw milk products were distributed throughout Pennsylvania, including Montgomery, Bucks, Philadelphia, and Delaware counties, which all border the Delaware River. The raw milk from this farm was purchased in Pennsylvania. The sale or distribution of raw milk is banned in New Jersey.
While the majority of illness has occurred in Pennsylvania, residents in New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia have also been affected. A 27-year-old male from Burlington County and a 3-year-old male from Gloucester County both got ill after consuming raw milk from the Family Cow Dairy in Pennsylvania.
The illness typically lasts one week. Some infected people do not have any symptoms. In those with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a life-threatening infection. Long-term complications may include contracting Guillain Barre Syndrome, which may result in paralysis and usually requires intensive care.
The source of this outbreak, Family Cow Dairy, has since been permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to resume bottling. It is important to note that this outbreak occurred despite the fact that Family Cow Dairy is licensed, inspected, and operating in compliance with Pennsylvania laws.
Here is a good overview on the statistics on raw milk risks – “CDC: Raw Milk Much More Likely to Cause Illness”
And, for those who think campylobacter is just a “tummy ache,” please watch this video: