Health officials from Michigan believe that the Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk from Forest Grove Dairy in Vandalia, Indiana is over. No illnesses have been reported in 3 weeks.
James McCurtis, public information officer for the state health department, said the department is confident that the privately sold raw milk is the source of the campylobacter illness. The department issued health alerts last month after 13 Michigan patients fell ill with fever and diarrhea, later confirmed to be caused by the bacteria, a common food-borne contaminant.
McCurtis said milk sampled from the households where people fell ill did not test positive for the campylobacter bacteria found in the patients.
But the lack of a positive test result does not sway the health department’s conclusion that the raw milk was the source of the infections, he said. Trace amounts of bacteria such as campylobacter can cause illness in people, but because the bacteria are not evenly dispersed in foods, they may not show up in sampled portions, food scientists say.
In this case, the health alert was based on other evidence: the cases in this outbreak all occurred at about the same time, all of the patients reported drinking unpasteurized milk from the cooperative, and unpasteurized milk is easily contaminated with campylobacter bacteria, health officials said.
“The epidemiological evidence was very strong,” McCurtis said.
The health department’s conclusions sound logical and well-founded, in my opinion. Exposures to a known vector for campylobacteriosis all coming from the same dairy in the same time frame? I wonder what Sally Fallon and the Weston A Price Foundation will have to say about the health department’s conclusions regarding the source of illness in this outbreak?