January 22, 2018

Campylobacter in Raw Milk Could Pose Long Term Health Problems for Durand Football Team

At least 38 people in Wisconsin who contracted Campylobacter infections from raw milk served at a banquet for the Durand High School football team could face long-term health problems.

MilkSome people with Campylobacter infections develop long-term complications such as reactive arthritis which causes painful swelling of the joints and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, (GBS) which is characterized by the sudden onset of paralysis that can last weeks, months or years.

“People who develop GBS as a result of ingesting Campylobacter often have life-long complications. For example, one of our Campylobacter-GBS clients has paralysis in all four extremities that, years after consuming raw milk, still affect all of his activities of daily living,” said Fred Pritzker, national food  safety attorney and publisher of Food Poisoning Bulletin.

Campylobacter is a pathogen that is transferred via the fecal-oral route. Those who develop infections have had food or beverages contaminated with microscopic amounts of animal feces. Pasteurization kills Campylobacter and other bacteria that cause disease, but raw milk is not pasteurized.

Banquet attendees were not told the milk provided for a banquet by a parent was unpasteurized.  Dozens of the students who attended the banquet became sick, some were hospitalized. Two football games had to be canceled because so many players were seriously ill.

Bri­anna Win­nekins, a man­ager of the foot­ball team who was hos­pitalized for four days, said had she known the milk was unpasteurized she would have avoided it. Winnekins 18, had a 105˚F fever and other symptoms before she was hospitalized Sept. 22 at Chippewa Val­ley Hospi­tal.

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