Outbreak of Bacterial Infection Linked to Raw Milk From Peninsula Farm


     Fans of raw milk might want to be on the lookout for signs of bacterial infection. Four cases of Campylobacter infection have popped up on the Kenai Peninsula and state epidemiologists are tracing to the use of raw milk.

     In a press release Friday, officials from the Alaska Section of Epidemiology say they are investigating the outbreak, which they say comes from raw milk believed to be from an Alaska farm.

     Campylobacter are bacteria that can cause abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and fever within two to five days after exposure. The illness typically lasts from several days to more than a week. Some people, especially young children or individuals with compromised immune systems, can develop severe or even life-threatening illness.

     Epidemiologist Dr. Brian Yablon says that raw milk can easily be contaminated with bacteria from the cow’s skin, or from improperly cleaned farm equipment. He says the milk is an ideal environment for bacteria like E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella, as well as Campylobacter.

     Although state regulations do not permit the sale of raw milk, owning shares of an animal to receive that animal’s milk is permissible, although there is no testing or pasteurization required of milk from such a program.