Raw Milk Linked To Listeria Outbreak

Posted: Mar 21 2016, 3:18am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 21 2016, 10:11pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Raw Milk Linked to Listeria Outbreak
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The listeria illnesses occured in 2014, but it took the CDC until now to determine the cause.

The deadly listeria outbreak in United States is linked to the raw milk from an organic farm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report.

Listeria illness took place two years ago but it was not until recently the cause of the illness had been determined by researchers. 

Listeria is a serious infection that is usually triggered by eating food contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes and it can cause a life-threatening illness. 

In the 2014 outbreak, two people got sick from the bacteria, one in California and one in Florida while the latter one died as a result of disease.

CDC began investigating listeria outbreak and examined the samples of raw chocolate milk produced by Miller’s organic farm. They found that the listeria bacteria in the product were closely related to the strain found in two people who got sick in 2014. Now, the CDC suggests that the raw milk from Pennsylvania based organic farm is likely the source of the outbreak. 

Earlier this year, CDC interviewed both the patients and their family members and asked them about the food they might have eaten before the illness started. It was reported that both drank raw milk from the same farm before they got sick.

“We are concerned that contaminated raw milk and other raw dairy products from this company could still be on the market and make people sick.” CDC said in a statement.

Raw milk and raw dairy products pose sever health risk and can carry dangerous bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, E.coli and Campylobacter. Therefore, CDC recommends only pasteurized milk.

Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time and prevents from numerous foodborne illnesses and outbreaks caused by those bacteria. The disease primarily affects children, pregnant women, adults aged 65 or more and people with weak immune system. 

The symptoms of listeria usually develop within few days of eating contaminated food and they may include fever, headache, muscle aches, stiff neck, loss of balance and confusion. Sometimes, it may lead to death as well.

CDC estimates that approximately 1600 illnesses and 260 deaths due to listeria or listeriosis occur annually in United States. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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