The number of those sickened by raw milk in Boulder County Colorado has grown to 24. Earlier this week, health officials announced that 16 people were suffering from E. coli O157:H7 and campylobacter infections lined to unpasteurized goat’s milk from the Billy Goat Dairy in Longmont, Colorado. Now 8 more illnesses have been identified. This may not be the final tally:
Epidemiologists continued to contact the 43 households that participate in the dairy’s goat-share program to warn of potential health risks and check for symptoms Thursday. They were still waiting on responses from several households. "As long as we continue to discover new cases, the investigation will continue," said Murielle Romine, of Boulder County Public Health.
Two children have been hospitalized in the outbreak, although one has now been released. Both E. coli O157:H7 and campylobacter cause severe food poisoning symptoms, and both are associated with the risk of severe complications. E. coli O157:H7 can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), especially in children and the elderly. HUS is a potentially fatal illness that can also cause permanent kidney injury, pancreatic damage, and brain damage.
Campylobacter is a known cause of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). GBS is a an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system, usually triggered by an acute infectious process. It causes nerve paralysis, and can be permanently disabling.