A New York resident sickened with Brucellosis by raw milk from Pennsylvania has state agricultural officials warning residents in a three-state region about the threat. Importing unpasteurized, raw milk from state to state is a violation of federal law.
The New Yorker has an RB51 infection, from a strain of the Brucella abortus bacteria, that has been traced to Miller’s Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, PA. The farm is now under quarantine.
New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania consumers were warned not drink raw milk or consume other dairy products from the Miller’s dairy.
Anyone with raw milk or other dairy products from Miller’s is urged to discard them and contact their healthcare provider to discuss preventive treatment, according to the New York Department of Health.
“The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is working with surrounding states to determine the extent to which raw milk from the farm in question has been received by New Jersey residents and consumers at the New Jersey locations listed on the farm’s website,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher.
Miller’s Biodiversity Farm lists several “group pickup locations” for its raw milk products. Those locations can be found here. The website shows raw milk priced at more than $15 per gallon.
The Pennsylvania dairy farm claims to be a “private buying club,” or membership organization, providing food from local farms to members who must pay a fee to become eligible to make purchases.
The New York resident with the bacterial infection is being treated and, according to the New York Department of Agriculture, is recovering. Brucellosis can cause fever, sweats, chills, weight loss, headache, fatigue and muscle and joint pain and symptoms may appear up to six months after exposure.
More severe cases include infections of the bones, central nervous system and reproductive organs and fetal loss in pregnant women.
The New York resident infected by drinking raw milk is the third Brucellosis case confirmed in the U.S. in the past two years, with the other incidents occurring in 2017 in New Jersey and Texas. Those patients had also consumed raw milk before becoming ill.
Epidemiologists from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials across the country, including those in Pennsylvania, say the only way to avoid Brucella exposure via milk is to drink pasteurized milk. In 2017 the CDC reported people in at least seven states were sick with brucellosis symptoms after drinking raw milk. At least one person in Texas and another in New Jersey were confirmed with infections linked to raw milk.
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