An E. coli outbreak linked to raw milk has sickened at least two children in Michigan. The E. coli O157:H7 cases, which were reported in Oakland and Wayne counties, underscore the dangers of consuming unpasteurized dairy products, state health officials said.
Laws governing the sale of raw milk vary from state to state. In Michigan, it is not legal to sell raw milk at the retail level, but it can by obtained through membership in a herd or cow share program, which are not inspected or regulated under Michigan dairy laws.
“The public should be aware that raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products have not been heat-treated and, therefore, pose a potentially serious risk to human health,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. For many people, these symptoms last about a week, but young children are more likely to develop a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can cause kidney failure, seizure, stroke, coma and death. A person with HUS will have pale skin that easily bruises and decreased urine output. Anyone with these symptoms should seek immediate medical care.appear pale, tired, and have a decreased frequency of urination as their kidneys may stop working.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection should not be treated with antibiotics or antacids because these can worsen the infection and increase the chance of complications such as HUS.