campylobacterThe Bellingham Herald reported today on a Campylobacter jejuni outbreak that has been traced to the consumption of raw milk purchased from a Whatcom County, Washington, dairy. 

In December, the Whatcom County Health Department issued a warning to consumers that Campylobacter had been isolated from a sample of milk produced at the Pleasant Valley Dairy in Ferndale.  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported:

The bacteria were found in a routine testing sample taken Dec. 11, the department said.

Local health departments are reviewing Campylobacter illness reports that may be related to the milk, the news release said. Symptoms of the illness usually occur two to five days after ingestion and generally last for seven to 10 days.

The milk was sold in half-gallon plastic containers at the Pleasant Valley farm store and at Barganica, Community Food Co-op and Terra Organica in Bellingham; Skagit Valley Co-op in Mount Vernon; Arlington Health, Petosa’s, Manna Mills, Tru Health and Bob’s Corn Patch in Snohomish County; and Spuds in Seattle, the news release said.

Now, health officials are saying that at least five people became ill with Campylobacteriosis, the illness caused by the ingestion of Campylobacter bacteria, after drinking raw milk produced by the Pleasant Valley Dairy.  According to the story in the Herald:

Four Whatcom County residents and one Skagit County resident tested positive for the same campylobacter jejuni strain that was found in a routine sample of raw milk from Pleasant Valley Dairy. The dairy pulled that batch of milk from the shelves and has resumed its distribution of raw milk.

The dairy has changed its testing procedures to reduce the risk of releasing contaminated milk, the health department said.

Outbreaks traced to the consumption of raw milk are not all that uncommon.  The International Food Safety Network has posted a list of outbreaks on its website.