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Raw Milk Sickens 4 with Campylobacter in Alaska

The Alaska Division of Public Health announced Friday that a recent and potentially ongoing outbreak of Campylobacter infections on the Kenai Peninsula has been traced to the consumption of raw (unpasteurized) milk.

According to a press release, 6 people have confirmed or suspected Campylobacter infections.  Four cases have been confirmed and two are suspected; one of the suspected cases is an infant with close contact to a confirmed case-patient. All six live on the Kenai Peninsula.

Alaska health authorities stated an indistinguishable strain of Campylobacter had been isolated from all confirmed case patients and that the strain had never been previously identified in Alaska.

Anyone who believes they may be part of the Campylobacter outbreak and is currently experiencing symptoms of Campylobacter infection, including diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and fever within 2 to 5 days after consuming raw milk should contact a healthcare provider or the public health department to report their illness.

Some people with Campylobacter infection develop arthritis, and rarely, some develop a life-threatening disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome that inflames the nerves of the body beginning several weeks after the onset of diarrhea.

The Alaska Department of Public Health asks consumers who have consumed raw milk in 2013 and have developed a diarrheal illness to contact the Section of Epidemiology to report the illness at 907-269-8000 (in Anchorage) or toll free at 1-800-478-0084 and ask to speak to a member of the Epi-Team.

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