The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has announced that testing has confirmed that 35 campylobacter infections resulted from the consumption of unpasteurized “raw” milk. The agency announced on September 16 that DNA test results and other evidence have now established that the confirmed cases of Campylobacter jejuni infection, including 21 patients under age 18, were caused by unpasteurized milk purchased from Zinniker Family Farm near Elkhorn. The farm sells raw milk through a cow-share program.
Wisconsin Ag Connection reports that:
Additional testing showed that the Campylobacter jejuni isolated from 25 of the patients, all linked to Zinniker Family Farm, had the same DNA fingerprint. Manure samples obtained directly from milking cows on that farm also tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni with the same DNA fingerprint. Manure on the cows’ udders or in the milking barn environment can contaminate milk. Pasteurization kills Campylobacter jejuni and other disease-causing bacteria in milk.
Agriculture officials count the Zinniker outbreak as the third major outbreak in Wisconsin since 2001 that has been tied to raw milk consumption. Sale of raw milk is illegal in Wisconsin.