December 17, 2017

Massachusetts Raw Milk Could be Contaminated with Brucella

The Massachusetts Department of Health issued an alert for raw milk, after a man who consumed raw milk from a dairy in December 2011 has been diagnosed with brucellosis.

Milking CowsBrucellosis, which is caused by ingesting the Brucella bacteria, is rare in the United States and hasn’t been identified in Massachusetts for decades. It is also called Gibraltar fever, Mediterranean fever, or undulant fever. It is considered a zoonosis, a disease transmitted from animals to humans.

Brucellosis is most frequently transmitted by drinking raw milk and eating cheese made with unpasteurized dairy products. Brucella bacteria causes flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, swollen lymph glands, sweating, and back pains. A diagnosis of brucellosis requires antibiotics. The bacteria can cause chronic symptoms including joint paint, fatigue, and recurrent fever.

The farm in question, Twin Rivers Farm in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, has suspended sales while it is being investigated as the possible infection source. The farm sells raw milk directly to consumers; it is not sold in retail stores. Pasteurized milk from the farm is not part of this advisory.

If you have purchased raw milk from this farm, discard it. If you have felt ill after consuming raw milk from this farm, see your doctor immediately. Be sure to tell your doctor that you consumed this milk, so she can notify the state’s Food Protection Program.

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