November 13, 2019

CDC Again Warns Consumers About Brucellosis in Raw Milk

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is again warning the public in 19 states about the potential exposure to Brucella RB51 in 19 states, connected to consuming raw milk from Miller’s Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, Pennsylvania. ¬†One case of brucellosis was confirmed in New York in November 2018. Three people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with brucellosis after drinking raw milk since 2017.

An unknown number of people, estimated to be in the hundreds, may have been exposed to the bacteria from drinking unpasteurized milk from this farm, a farm in Texas, and an online retailer. A cow that tested positive for the pathogen has been removed from the Miller’s Biodiversity Farm milking herd.

Miller's Biodiversity Farm Brucella

In late December 2018, raw milk and raw milk products from Miller’s Biodiversity Farm were quarantined by public health officials because the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture found Brucella abortus (RB 51) in the milk. Then, on January 28, 2018, the CDC issued a Brucella health advisory for the raw milk products.

The states where people who may have been exposed live include Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. Anyone who consumed raw milk or raw milk products from this farm since January 2016 may have been exposed and should talk to their doctor.

Anyone who is within six months of the date they last consumed the raw milk are at an increased risk for brucellosis and should get antibiotics as a preventative measure. If any symptoms develop, these people should see their doctor immediately. Anyone who has had symptoms of brucellosis and has not been treated should also contact their doctors. They should be tested to see if they had been infected and need antibiotics to prevent long term health problems.

This type of Brucella is resistant to first-line antibiotics. The disease can be difficult to diagnose because of limited testing options. In addition, early brucellosis symptoms are similar to the flu.

Early symptoms of brucellosis include sweats, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain. Pregnant women who contact this infection can suffer miscarriages. People who are untreated can develop long term complications such as arthritis, heart problems, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and meningitis.

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