State health officials in Idaho are investigating a cluster of illnesses believed to be associated with the consumption of unpasteurized, raw milk.

Central District Health announced Tuesday that it is investigating recent reports of illness in five Ada County residents who drank raw milk.

Since Sept. 20, three of the five individuals tested positive for campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection, and reported drinking raw milk produced by Provider Farms in Mountain Home before getting sick. The Central Health District is collaborating with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in the ongoing investigation.

The Central Health District is conducting interviews with symptomatic patients and getting raw milk samples tested. The state agriculture department is working with the raw milk vendor, Provider Farms, to mitigate any ongoing consumer risk. Provider Farms distributes directly to consumers at several distribution centers from Nampa to Burley.

The state department recommends that anyone who has purchased raw cow milk products from Provider Farms in the past 30 days dispose of any remaining products.

People should be aware of possible health risks before consuming raw, unpasteurized dairy products or providing such products to family members, particularly those in high-risk groups. Those at higher risk of illness after drinking raw milk include young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.

Common symptoms of campylobacteriosis infection include diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and stomach cramps; nausea and vomiting may accompany the diarrhea. Symptoms usually start two to five days after exposure and last about one week. Some people experience complications like irritable bowel syndrome, temporary paralysis, and arthritis. 

Anyone experiencing symptoms after consuming raw milk or raw milk products from this vendor should immediately seek medical attention and tell their healthcare provider about their possible exposure to campylobacter. Specific tests are needed for diagnosis because the illness can mimic other illnesses.

For more information on raw milk and the risks associated with the consumption of raw milk, please visit the CDC webpage. Please contact your local public health district for further questions or to report your illness.

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