June 15, 2024

Delaware Warns Consumers Against Raw Milk After Brucellosis Case

The Delaware Division of Public Health is warning consumers to avoid consuming raw dairy products as a woman living in Sussex County has been diagnosed with a Brucella melitensis infection. This illness affects people who come into contact with sick animals or contaminated animal products.

Delaware Warns Consumers Against Raw Milk After Brucella Case

The most common source of this infection is the consumption of raw unpasteurized dairy products. Before she got sick, the patient consumed unpasteurized homemade dairy products from Mexico. She had no other risk factors. A second, related case of brucellosis is pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DPH Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong said in a statement: “Cases such as this one can serve as an unfortunate reminder that we are vulnerable to certain bacteria and should take precautions to protect ourselves.¬†Delawareans are encouraged to avoid purchasing and consuming unpasteurized dairy products. Consuming questionable food items is not worth the risk to your health.”

Most brucella infections are transmitted by eating or drinking raw dairy products. It can also be contracted through inhalation or physical contact with infected animals or animal products.

Brucella infections aren’t common in the U.S. with fewer than 200 human cases every year. Before this case, the Delaware Division of Public health confirmed three cases in the state since 2010.

Symptoms of brucellosis are similar to the flu. Initial symptoms include fever, sweats, weight loss, headache, fatigue, and muscle or joint pain. Brucella infections are associated with miscarriage in pregnant women. Symptoms usually start five days to six months after exposure to the bacteria. Recovery can take weeks.

To avoid this infection, do not eat, drink, or purchase unpasteurized dairy products, especially when traveling out of the U.S. Read the label on dairy products before you buy them. If you shop at farm stands or farmers’ markets, ask if the dairy products for sale there are pasteurized.



  1. George D Vernimb VMD says

    It should be made clear that Brucella melitensis is considered to be primarily a pathogen of goats but certainly can infect other species. The affected person seems to have acquired the infection in Mexico which suggests that she might have contracted it from a goat. This could be from milk, meat, placenta fluids etc. Potential consumers should be made aware that brucellosis can be acquired from multiple species, not just dairy cows.This writer vigorously opposes the consumption of raw dairy products regardless of the species of origin.


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