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Campylobacter Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Campylobacter News & Outbreaks

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.

Raw Milk Campylobacter Recall in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has warned consumers who bought raw milk from Apple Valley Creamery in Adams County to immediately discard it due to Campylobacter contamination found in a recent sample.

The dairy is located along the 500 block of Germany Road in East Berlin.

The raw milk sample was collected from the farm Jan. 28 during required routine sampling by a commercial laboratory and later tested positive for the bacteria.

Apple Valley Creamery sells directly to customers at an on-farm retail store and through home delivery services. Several retail facilities in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties also carry the creamery’s products. The packaged raw milk is sold under the Apple Valley Creamery label in half gallon and quart glass containers with the sell-by dates of Feb. 9 and Feb. 11. It is labeled as “raw milk.”

Apple Valley Creamery also bottles pasteurized milk. This notice does not affect the pasteurized milk bottled by the creamery.

Agriculture officials have ordered the owner of the dairy to stop the sale of all raw milk until further notice. Multiple samples must test negative before the farm can resume raw milk sales.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.

Pennsylvania law allows farms to sell raw milk but requires the farms to be permitted and inspected by the agriculture department to reduce health risks associated with unpasteurized products. There are 150 farms in Pennsylvania permitted to sell raw milk or raw milk cheese.

Symptoms of Campylobacter include fever, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within 1-7 days after consumption.

70% of UK Tainted with Campylobacter – Not that Different in US

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) released its “Name and Shame” Report this morning.  The idea of testing retail chicken and publishing the results had been the focus of much discussion over the last few months.  Some UK retailers were not very happy that the public would actually know how tainted the chicken really is.

If this had been the US equivalent, FSIS, we would be wondering why would the report be released on Thanksgiving Day.  My guess is that in the UK Thanksgiving does not have the same meaning as it does over here.

Retailers had tried to block the study’s release.

Well, back to the study; Campylobacter was found in 70 per cent of chicken tested up from 59 per cent of chickens in August.  Almost a fifth of all chickens (18 per cent) tested positive for Campylobacter above the highest level of contamination, while six per cent of packaging tested positive – a rise of four per cent since August.

The FSA also revealed that Asda sold the highest percentage of chickens contaminated with the bug.  Campylobacter was present in 78 per cent of chickens from the supermarket, with 28 per cent above the highest level of contamination.

Packaging testing showed 12 per cent was contaminated.  Don’t forget the recent “chicken juice” report.

Almost three-quarters of chickens (73 per cent) sold by the Co-operative tested positive, followed by Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose (69 per cent), Marks & Spencer (67 per cent) and Tesco (64 per cent).

Perhaps it is time to redo our 2011 testing of contamination levels in chicken purchased in Seattle.  Here were some of the results:

The study showed that up to 80% of Seattle area raw chicken could be contaminated with some form of potentially harmful bacteria.

Testing done by IEH Laboratories in Lake Forest Park, Washington showed that 80 of 100 raw chickens purchased at various Seattle area grocery stores contained at least one potentially harmful pathogen.

The test was comprised of 18 brands of chicken purchased at 18 different Seattle area stores including chain grocery stores, Safeway (3 locations), Albertsons (2), QFC (4), Fred Meyer (2), Thriftway (1); warehouse clubs Costco (2) and Sam’s Club (1); natural foods stores Whole Foods (1) and PCC (1), and one small market, Ken’s Market (1).

In the study local and organic chicken did not prove to be safer than other samples. In terms of origination, 59 chicken samples originated from Washington, while 13 samples came from other states and 28 were of unknown origin. Regardless of place, chicken from every state tested was confirmed to contain potentially harmful bacteria.  Of the 14 samples of organic chicken 12 contained harmful bacteria.

The study tested for five pathogens.  While some findings were typical, other results were more surprising.  Previous studies have found on average that 33 to 53% of chicken is contaminated with Campylobacter.  In Seattle 65% of the chicken tested positive for Campylobacter.  Salmonella was isolated in 19% of the chicken purchased at retail stores in the Seattle area, slightly higher than the expected average of 16%.  Staphylococcus aureus was found in 42% of the chicken sampled; 10 of these samples were Methicillan-resistant, commonly known as MRSA.  One sample cultured positive for Listeria monocytogenes and one sample cultured positive for E. coli O26, a bacteria often found in beef.

Campylobacter:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Campylobacter outbreaks. The Campylobacter lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Campylobacter and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Campylobacter lawyers have litigated Campylobacter cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as raw milk and municipal water.

The Family Farm Raw Milk Campylobacter Lawsuit – Pennsylvania (2012)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed at least 80 cases of Campylobacter infections in an outbreak tied to contaminated unpasteurized milk from The Family Cow dairy, located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  Illness onset dates for the outbreak ranged from January 17 to February 1. At least nine people were hospitalized.  This was one of the largest foodborne illness linked to raw milk in Pennsylvania history, and affected individuals in four states. The breakdown of illnesses by state is as follows:  Pennsylvania (70), Maryland (5), West Virginia (3), and New Jersey (2).

Since 2007, Pennsylvania raw milk dairies have been linked to at least seven outbreaks, now resulting in a total of 287 illnesses. In 2008, the state had a raw milk outbreak of Campylobacter infection that sickened 72 people.

Although the dairy temporarily halted sales upon discovery of the outbreak, the farm was allowed to resume production on February 6, after passing a health inspection.  Lab tests by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found the outbreak strain of Campylobacter in two unopened bottles of raw milk collected from customers’ homes, and the owners of the dairy acknowledged responsibility for the contaminated milk that caused the outbreak.  “It was us … food from our farm has made people sick,” owner Edwin Shank wrote in an open letter posted on the dairy’s website.

Of the 80 confirmed cases, 25 (31 percent) were under the age of 18, while all those ill ranged in age from 2 to 74.  There have been two additional outbreaks since 2012 – http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/08/third-campylobacter-outbreak-from-family-cow-dairy-sickens-2/#.Um54nyTPFXM

Campylobacter:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Campylobacter outbreaks. The Campylobacter lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Campylobacter and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Campylobacter lawyers have litigated Campylobacter cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as raw milk and municipal water.

If you or a family member became ill with a Campylobacter infection, including Guillain-Barré Syndrome, or GBS, after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Campylobacter attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Raw Milk – with Campylobacter – Strikes Again – 22 Sick – 8 Hospitalized

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene (WSLH), the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Pepin County Health Department have been working on an investigation into an outbreak of illnesses that affected some members of the football team and coaching staff at the Durand Jr/Sr High School who attended a team dinner on September 18th, 2014. Testing performed at the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene and area labs and clinics confirmed that the outbreak was caused by Campylobactor jejuni bacteria.

As part of the investigation, DHS interviewed all of the football team members (ill and well) and coaching staff to assess illnesses and ask questions about things they may have been exposed to (activities, foods, water sources, etc.) in the days before becoming ill. In a comparison of the interview responses from ill and well team members, consumption of raw milk was the only food item associated with illness.

At the request of DHS, DATCP staff collected cow manure specimens. Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene test results (genetic fingerprinting) show that the bacteria that caused diarrheal illness among individuals who drank the unpasteurized (raw) milk at the potluck was the same bacteria strain found on the farm that supplied the raw milk.

Campylobacter jejuni bacteria can cause diarrhea, which can be bloody, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea and vomiting. Campylobacter can be transmitted by consuming food contaminated directly or indirectly by animal feces or handled by someone with the infection who has not adequately washed hands after using the bathroom.

Campylobacter 22, Durand Football 0

Lindsay Alowairdi reports that 22 cases of Campylobacter have now been confirmed in the Durand School District.

Heidi Stewart, with the Pepin County Health Department, says all of the cases involve members of the Durand High School football team.

Campylobacter is a bacterial infection causing diarrhea, stomach pain, and a fever. Last week, more than 100 students in the district were reported absent.

Stewart told WEAU that more than 50 interviews have been conducted with the football team, people around the football team, coaches, staff, and others to try and help determine what caused the outbreak.

The school district says the worst of the illness seems to be passing, and as of Monday, attendance was back to normal at Durand schools.

Was Raw Milk Served at Potluck Link to Campylobacter Outbreak in Wisconsin?

Jessica Bringe of WEAU reports that more than 100 total Durand High School students were reported absent last week with Durand’s football team being hardest hit by the illness.  There are 19 confirmed cases of Campylobacter; all are members of the football team.

Now, Pepin County Health officials are trying to figure out how the spread started and where.  The investigation into what caused the outbreak of campylobacter within the district is still ongoing.

Heidi Stewart, with the Pepin County Health Department says all 19 confirmed cases of Campylobacter have been members of the football team.

“Over 50 interviews have been completed of members of the football team, people around the football team, coaches staff and other people,” says Stewart.

The Pepin County Health Department continues to work with the DHS and the Durand School District in efforts to prevent and control infections and to investigate the source of the outbreak.

The Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene continue to coordinate testing for any ill students and staff to identify the source of their illness. The Durand School District will continue to provide updates.

The Durand School District continues to follow the cleaning and disinfection guidelines recommended by the DHS to ensure all school buildings, buses, and grounds are safe for all parties involved.

Campylobacter is a bacteria and a common cause of gastrointestinal illness in Wisconsin. Symptoms include diarrhea, which may be bloody, abdominal cramping and fever.