April 21, 2018

Utah Campylobacter Outbreak Linked to Ropelato Dairy Raw Milk

Public health officials in Utah are investigating an outbreak of Campylobacter illnesses associated with the consumption of raw milk. So far, 45 people have been diagnosed with the infection. Those people said they consumed raw milk the week before they got sick.

Milking a CowCases have been reported from Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber counties. Two cases have been reported from out of state residents who live in California and Idaho. The illness onset dates range from May 9, 2014 to July 21, 2014. The case patients range in age from 2 to 74 years.

All of the cases are linked to the consumption of raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County. The license of that dairy to sell raw milk was suspended on August 4, 2014 after tests of raw milk samples at the farm were positive for Campylobacter.

Larry Lewis, Public Information Officer for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food said in a statement, “inspectors have repeatedly visited the dairy, reviewing safety procedures, working with the owner to determine the source of the problem, and helping devise correction actions.” The dairy has been working with inspectors.

 

Campylobacter is a bacteria commonly associated with raw milk. Symptoms of an infection include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Those who are young, have compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and the elderly can become seriously ill from a Campylobacter infection. Complications of a Campylobacter infection include Guillain-Barrè syndrome, arthritis, meningitis, blood poisoning, heart attack, and hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Since 2009, there have been 14 documented outbreaks of Campylobacter food poisoning associated with raw milk consumption in Utah, sickening more than 200 people. Public health officials again warn consumers that drinking raw milk may be dangerous. A government permit does not guarantee that raw milk or raw milk products will be free of pathogenic bacteria.

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