Toddler, man from S.J. sickened from Pa. raw milk

Posted: February 24, 2012

A 3-year-old boy and a 27-year-old man from South Jersey became ill recently from drinking raw milk from a Pennsylvania farm.

New Jersey health officials are warning residents about the risks of drinking unpasteurized milk in wake of the illnesses.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services says the two became sick after consuming the milk from Family Cow Dairy in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The department does not specify when the two became sick.

Currently 78 people from several states have fallen ill with Campylobacteriosis, a gastrointestinal illness, from the consumption of raw milk contaminated with bacteria traced to the farm.

Family Cow Dairy is a permitted distributor of raw milk by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The outbreak was discovered earlier in late January, and Family Cow Dairy apologized to customers.

It has since resumed operations after being approved by Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Still, officials in New Jersey, which has banned the sale of raw milk, are advising caution.

"Raw milk can contain a number of bacteria that can cause life-threatening illness, especially in those with compromised immune systems," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. Dowd. "Since consumers cannot tell if milk is contaminated by smelling or tasting it, residents should avoid consuming raw milk because of health risks associated with it."

Health officials say the 27-year-old man sickened was from Burlington County. The 3-year-old was from Gloucester County.

Officials did not disclose their names or more specific locations.

Campylobacteriosis is marked by diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Nausea and vomiting are also possible.

The effects normally last about a week. But long-term complications can include Guillain Barre Syndrome, which may result in paralysis that lasts several weeks and usually requires intensive care.

A Centers for Disease Control study released this week shows that the rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk and products made from it was 150 times greater than those linked to pasteurized milk.

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