Minnesota state health officials said Thursday that seven more illnesses have been linked to raw dairy products from the Hartmann dairy farm.
Hartmann’s farm was implicated as the source of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections in May and June. After that earlier outbreak, the state’s Department of Agriculture (MDA) ordered Hartmann to stop selling milk until he addressed the unsanitary conditions on his farm.
MDA also told Hartmann to comply with the state law that allows for the sale of unpasteurized milk only on the farm at which the milk was produced. Agriculture officials said it is not clear how the seven new ill people acquired the unpasteurized milk.
Epidemiologists with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said the latest illnesses include three people infected with Campylobacter jejuni, and four people infected with Cryptosporidium parvum.
After their illnesses were reported by health care providers, the ill people told health department investigators that they had consumed raw milk. Those who named a source said the milk came from the Hartmann farm, the MDH reported.
Laboratory tests confirmed that the Campylobacter bacteria and Cryptosporidium parasites in most of the ill people were genetically identical to organisms found in animal and environmental samples taken on the Hartmann farm this past summer, the MDH said.
“We’re concerned that people are continuing to get sick after consuming products from this farm,” said MDH Foodborne Diseases Unit Supervisor Kirk Smith. “We’re also concerned that some people who became ill were given the Hartmann dairy product by friends or neighbors who did not tell them the source.”
Smith also said, “While we are very concerned about the ongoing illnesses associated with this one farm, this isn’t just about one farm selling raw milk and making people sick.
“This also is about the inherent risk of any raw milk. People need to think carefully about those risks before consuming raw dairy products from any source, and people need to know that the risks are especially high for young children.”
In addition to the illnesses associated with the Hartmann farm, MDH said it has identified 47 other people since Jan. 1, 2010 who became ill after drinking raw milk from a variety of sources throughout the state; none of these 47 cases was part of an identified outbreak (no two cases reported the same source). Most of the individual cases have been in children or young adults.