Raw milk linked to drug-resistant infection: Potentially Deadly Drug Resistant Brucella
Consumers in 19 states may have been exposed to a drug-resistant strain of brucella after drinking raw milk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania state health officials are investigating illnesses related to raw milk produced by Miller’s Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.
Officials have confirmed one case of brucella infection, known as brucellosis, in the state of New York and are concerned that many more consumers may have been exposed to brucella after drinking the milk. Milk samples from Miller’s Biodiversity tested positive for the drug-resistant brucella strain. A cow that tested positive for brucella has since been removed from the milking herd.
The particular type of brucella discovered in the raw milk is resistant to first-line drugs and can be difficult to diagnose because of limited testing options. The strain found in the raw milk produced in Pennsylvania is resistant to rifampin, one of the antibiotics that would typically be used to prevent or treat brucellosis. In addition, many consumers may not know they’ve been infected as brucellosis symptoms are similar to those found in common illnesses such as the flu.
Potentially Deadly Drug Resistant Brucella: 19 States Could be Affected
Consumers in 19 states could be exposed to brucellosis: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. Health officials warn against drinking raw milk, as it has not been pasteurized, a process that helps to kill germs that may cause disease.
Symptoms of brucellosis include fever, sweats, loss of appetite, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and potentially more serious complications. Symptoms can begin as quickly as five days after exposure but can also take as long as six months to manifest. People who are infected but are not treated can go on to develop more serious complications like arthritis, heart problems, enlargement of the spleen or liver, and, in rare cases, nervous system problems, like meningitis.
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