|Outbreak: Pennsylvania Raw Milk Campylobacter|
|Product: Raw Milk||Investigation Start Date: 01/24/2012|
|Location: Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia||Etiology: Campylobacter jejuni|
|Earliest known case onset date: 01/14/2012||Latest case onset date: 02/01/2012|
|Confirmed / Presumptive Case Count: 81 / 67||Positive Samples: 2|
While it is legal to sell unpasteurized raw milk in Pennsylvania and illegal to sell in neighboring Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia, this outbreak included cases in residents from all of these states. While additional regulations by state officials could be considered, such as monthly pathogen testing, that could reduce the risks associated with consumption of raw milk, the only way to prevent unpasteurized milk–associated disease outbreaks is for consumers to refrain from consuming unpasteurized milk.
- • MMWR Recurrent Outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni Infections Associated with a Raw Milk Dairy — Pennsylvania, April–May 2013.
- • News Article, February 24, 2012 “Raw Milk Dairy Outbreak Toll Rises to 78”
- • News Article, March 1, 2012 “Campylobacter Cases from Raw Milk Outbreak Reach 80”
- • News Article, May 29, 2013 “Raw Milk from PA Dairy Sickens 5 with Campylobacter”
- • News Article, August 5, 2013 “Third Campylobacter Outbreak from Family Cow Dairy Sickens 2”
The following is the abstract from the published article found here. The full, free text can be found here.
This multistate outbreak of campylobacteriosis was among the largest (148 confirmed and probable cases) nationally in recent years associated with consumption of unpasteurized raw milk and was epidemiologically and molecularly linked to consumption of certified unpasteurized milk from a Pennsylvania dairy.
15 unpasteurized milk samples obtained directly from the dairy during the investigation (but after most of the onsets of the cases) were negative for Campylobacter. However, 2 unopened retail samples collected from Maryland consumers tested at Maryland’s state public health lab, yielded C. jejuni with an indistinguishable PFGE pattern to all clinical isolates. This highlights the importance of testing food and environmental samples linked to actual exposure dates whenever available.
This outbreak occurred despite a state program implemented to reduce the risk associated with raw milk consumption. Although the dairy had tested for Escherichia coli O157:H7 more frequently than required by state regulations, those regulations for testing for other pathogens, such as Campylobacter, was only performed biannually.