CONTACT: Beth Kaplan, DHS, (608) 267-3810
Donna Gilson, DATCP, (608) 224-5130
Cheryl Mazmanian, WRCHD, (262) 763-4930
BACTERIA THAT CAUSED ILLNESSES AMONG SCHOOL EVENT
ATTENDEES MATCHES STRAIN FOUND IN UNPASTEURIZED MILK FROM LOCAL FARM
MADISONLaboratory test results show that the Campylobactor jejuni
bacteria that caused diarrheal illness among 16 individuals who drank
unpasteurized (raw) milk at a school event early this month in Raymond was
the same bacteria strain found in unpasteurized milk produced at a local
farm, according to officials from the Department of Health Services (DHS)
and Western Racine County Health Department (WRCHD). A parent had supplied
unpasteurized milk from the farm for the school event.
Stool samples submitted to the WRCHD by ill students and adults were
sent to the State Laboratory of Hygiene where they tested positive for the
bacteria. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)
food inspectors collected milk samples from the bulk tank at the farm,
which tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni. Further testing by the
State Hygiene lab showed the bacteria strain from the stool samples and
the milk samples matched. Additionally, interviews with event attendees
revealed that consuming the unpasteurized milk was statistically
associated with illness. Health officials said that this combination of
laboratory and epidemiologic evidence indicates that the illnesses were
caused by the unpasteurized milk consumed at the school event.
Campylobacter jejuni bacteria can cause diarrhea, which can be
bloody, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea and vomiting. Rarely, an
infection may lead to paralysis after initial symptoms have disappeared.
Campylobacter can be transmitted by consuming food contaminated directly
or indirectly by animal feces or handled by someone with the infection who
has not adequately washed hands after using the bathroom.
The farm did not sell the unpasteurized milk and there was no legal
violation associated with the milk being brought to the school event. The
farm is licensed and in good standing with the Department of Agriculture,
Trade and Consumer Protection.
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Last Revised: June 20, 2011