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Campylobacter Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Campylobacter News & Outbreaks

Raw Milk Recalled in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is issuing a health alert for unpasteurized raw milk and raw milk products from Sweet Grass Dairy’s herd share, due to contamination with Campylobacter. Sweet Grass Dairy is located in Knox County at 6049 Bryant Rd., Fredericktown, OH 43019.

This alert is the result of an investigation by ODA and the Ohio Department of Health after foodborne illnesses were reported in Franklin County. Later testing confirmed a connection between the illnesses and raw milk from Sweet Grass Dairy.

People can prevent infection by only consuming pasteurized milk and milk products. Pasteurization is the process in which milk is heated briefly to kill any pathogenic bacteria that might be present. Raw milk has not been pasteurized to kill pathogenic bacteria that can cause illness and is not available for sale in Ohio retail stores.

Campylobacter in Raw Milk in Colorado

The 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.

For more information visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org, or Pueblo County residents may call 719-583-4307.

California Campylobacter Outbreak

Solano 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.

Raw milk can harbor Campylobacter even after negative tests

Raw milk can harbor dangerous bacteria, even when routine testing results show it to be uncontaminated, says a report from Utah on a 2014 outbreak of confirmed or suspected campylobacteriosis in 99 individuals. The report appears in today’s issue of Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The outbreak began in May 2014 with three patients who tested positive on pulsed field gel electrophoresis for Campylobacter jejuni. They had all consumed raw milk from an unnamed dairy in Weber County in northern Utah. The dairy’s routine testing, which is required monthly of dairies selling raw milk in Utah and consists of somatic cell and coliform counts, had yielded results within acceptable levels (<400,000 somatic cells/mL and <10 coliform colony forming units/mL).

Enhanced testing after the illnesses were identified showed C jejuni in the dairy’s milk.

Officials suspended the dairy’s permit in August and then reinstated it Oct 1 after follow-up cultures were negative. However, seven more C jejuni cases occurred by Nov 4, and the permit was permanently revoked Dec 1.

It total, 99 people in Utah, 85 (86%) of them from northern counties, were identified through lab testing and patient interviews as having confirmed (59) or probable (40) cases of campylobacteriosis from May 9 to Nov 6, 2014. Patients ranged in age from 1 to 74 years; 10 were hospitalized, and 1 died.

Of the 98 patients for whom exposure history was available, 53 reported drinking raw milk, 52 of them milk from the Weber Country dairy; 4 drank raw milk but could not name the dairy where it was purchased, and 14 bought raw milk at the dairy but did not report drinking it.

The authors point out that “Current raw milk testing standards do not readily detect contamination.” They recommend more education of consumers about the dangers associated with consuming unpasteurized milk, and they conclude, “The safest alternative is to consume pasteurized milk.”

Blair Academy and Campylobacter

Campulobacter_406x250About 30 people were recently sickened by Campylobacter at Blair Academy, reports the New Jersey Herald. The school is a private boarding and day school for high school students located in Blairstown, NJ.

“In mid-November, our health center saw an increased incidence of gastrointestinal-related illness and we alerted all parents by email on November 20 prior to students leaving campus for Thanksgiving break,” Suzy Logan, a spokesperson for the school, told the newspaper in an emailed statement. “Late that weekend, we found out that several of those who experienced symptoms tested positive for Campylobacter. Upon receiving confirmation of several positive results, our director of health services informed the parents of those affected by phone and updated our entire parent body by email the next day.”

Logan said all affected students have recovered. The source of the illnesses has not yet been identified.

Campylobacter in California Raw Milk

Raw 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.

According to the California Department of Public Health, 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.

Three Kids Linked to Raw Goat Milk Campylobacter Outbreak

Orange 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.

73% of British Chickens Have Campylobacter At Retail

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-raw-chickens-supermarket-image33900426After a year of testing store-bought chicken in the United Kingdom for Campylobacter, the Food Standards Agency there has published the results — and they’re pretty dismal.

More than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging were collected between February 2014 and February 2015, and 73 percent of the chickens tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.

Nineteen percent of chickens tested above the highest category of contamination levels (more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram), while 7 percent of packages also tested positive for Campylobacter.

Campylobacter is a foodborne bacteria largely associated with chicken which causes diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. It’s also the biggest cause of food poisoning in the U.K.

In breaking down contamination rates by retailer, FSA found that none had met the target for reducing Campylobacter. Asda had the highest rate of Campylobacter contamination at 80 percent of chicken samples, as well as the most samples (30 percent) with more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram.

Tesco was the only main retailer with a lower rate of chicken contamination at the highest level compared to the industry average.

Raw Milk Linked to Campylobacter Illnesses

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

California 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. (See CDFA Announces Recall of Raw Milk Products at Claravale Farm of San Benito County news release.)

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.

Although the sale of raw milk from some dairies is legal in California, CDPH does not recommend drinking raw milk or raw milk products or giving raw milk, colostrum, raw cream or other raw milk products to children. Raw milk products sold in California are required to carry a warning label:

“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.”

Consumers experiencing any ill effects after consuming raw dairy products should consult their health care provider.

Campylobacter Risk: Raw Milk Recalled

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.