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Published On: Fri, May 24th, 2013

Alaska reports second campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk consumption

Alaska health officials are reporting another campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk distributed by a Kenai Peninsula cow-share program, according to an Alaska Section of Epidemiology advisory May 23.

Photo/http://www.fhwa.dot.gov

Photo/http://www.fhwa.dot.gov

This current, and possibly ongoing outbreak of campylobacter, has resulted in five people getting ill, in which two sought medical attention for their illnesses.

This follows a Campylobacter coli outbreak from January and February this year that sickened 31 people.

In the newest outbreak, health officials report that testing by the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory identified the bacteria strain as Campylobacter jejuni. The exact same strain of C. jejuni was found in cow manure obtained earlier this year at the cow-share farm that distributed the raw milk.

Symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Most people with campylobacteriosis recover completely. Illness usually occurs 2 to 5 days after exposure to campylobacter and lasts about a week. The illness is usually mild and some people with campylobacteriosis have no symptoms at all.

However, in some persons with compromised immune systems, it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection. A small percentage of people may have joint pain and swelling after infection. In addition, a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

The Alaska Section of Epidemiology offers the following recommendations for the public:

  • Health care providers should educate families about the risks of consuming raw dairy products; informational materials are available at: http://http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com//
  • Providers should obtain stool cultures in patients with acute gastrointestinal illness and history of raw dairy consumption.
  • Persons who are currently experiencing symptoms as described above should contact their health care provider and alert them to this advisory.
  • Persons who have consumed raw milk since March 2013 and subsequently developed a diarrheal illness should contact the Section of Epidemiology (SOE) to report the illness and obtain information about the outbreak. Call SOE at 907-269-8000 (in Anchorage) or toll free at 1-800-478-0084 and ask to speak to a member of the Infectious Disease Program.
  • Share this advisory with persons you know who consume raw milk.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Campylobacter – the bad bug on chicken | Focus on food safety says:

    […] Alaska reports second campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk consumption (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

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