Eating fresh cheese at a fair in Kansas was the only recent exposure associated with illness. Of 101 persons who ate the cheese, 66 percent became ill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said.  On October 26, 2007, a family health clinic nurse informed the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that Campylobacter jejuni had been isolated from two ill persons from different families who were members of a closed community in a rural Kansas county.  By Oct. 29, 17 additional members of the community had reported gastrointestinal illness. All 19 persons reported consuming fresh cheese on Oct. 20 that was made the same day at a community fair from unpasteurized milk obtained from a local dairy, the report said.

An investigation by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the local health department determined the source and extent of the outbreak. Eating fresh cheese at the fair was the only exposure associated with illness.  Although all samples of cheese tested negative for Campylobacter, results of the epidemiologic investigation found an association between illness and consumption of fresh cheese made from unpasteurized milk, the report added.

Unpasteurized milk and milk products should not be consumed, especially among populations at high risk of infection complications — the young, pregnant, elderly and immunocompromised.