Five children under 15 have been confirmed infected with E. coli O157:H7 in an outbreak Oregon health authorities have traced to raw milk sold through a cow-share arrangement.
All five children are hospitalized, with three developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the acute kidney failure that is a complication of E. coli O157:H7 illness.
Four other cases of illness — three other children under 15 and an adult — are suspected of being part of the outbreak. All the individuals drank raw milk from Foundation Farm in Clackamas County.
The farm voluntarily stopped distributing its unpasteurized milk last week. The Oregon Department of Public Health contacted the 48 households who buy milk through the farm’s herdshare scheme and urged them to discard any milk from the farm.
The retail sale of raw milk is prohibited in Oregon but on-farm sales are allowed from dairies with no more than two producing cows, nine producing sheep or nine producing goats.
“Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria that can make you very sick or kill you. Pasteurized milk has many health benefits. Raw milk is not any healthier than pasteurized milk and can carry illness‐causing bacteria,” said Dr. Katrina Hedberg, Oregon Public Health Division state epidemiologist, in the state’s initial news release.