Jug of milk with an old country table, a white drink is poured into a glass (Photo: Chepko, Getty Images / iStockphoto)
Federal and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of raw milk that is infested with brucella, a drug-resistant bacterium that can cause serious complications such as heart problems, arthritis, and miscarriages.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people in 19 states have bought raw milk from Miller's Biodiversity Farm, a member club in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, which sells dairy products to its members.
The CDC advises people to throw raw milk or raw milk products off the farm. People who use such products from the farm since January 2016 may be exposed and should talk to their doctor, the CDC said. The infection may strike for up to six months after exposure, which means that persons who have drunk or eaten raw milk products during this period should monitor their health for symptoms that include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain.
The authorities joined the farm in November with a brucellosis infection (also called Mediterranean fever) in New York. An "unknown number" of people could have been exposed.
The raw milk that skips the pathogenic pasteurization process is preferred by those who desire more natural and unprocessed foods. However, the US Food and Drug Administration says that raw milk can expose people to food-borne illnesses.
The strain to be tested, RB51, is used in a vaccine to protect against more severe forms of Brucella. The bacteria can sometimes get into the milk of a vaccinated cow, which can lead to those affected developing brucellosis. A cow that was taken out of the herd tested positive for RB51.
Miller's Biodiversity Farm did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The strain is resistant to first-line drugs, so the CDC states, and it is difficult to diagnose, since the first symptoms are similar to the flu.
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Two outbreaks of RB51 raw milk occurred in New Jersey and Texas in 2017.
States where people purchase raw milk products include: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Iceland, South Carolina and Virginia.
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