Outbreak: Pennsylvania Raw Milk Campylobacter
Product: Raw MilkInvestigation Start Date: 01/24/2012
Location: Maryland, New Jersey, West VirginiaEtiology: Campylobacter jejuni
Earliest known case onset date: 01/14/2012Latest case onset date: 02/01/2012
Confirmed / Presumptive Case Count: 81 / 67Positive Samples: 2
Hospitalizations: 10Deaths: 0

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.


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.