By Mary Rothschild | February 02, 2012
Maryland public health officials say lab tests confirmed Campylobacter jejuni bacteria in two unopened containers of unpasteurized milk from the Your Family Cow farm in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania health authorities have not yet announced the results of their tests, as the number of people who are sick after drinking milk from the raw milk dairy has risen to 35 in four states.
The confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection include 28 people in Pennsylvania, four in Maryland, two in West Virginia, and one in New Jersey.
The Maryland health department said it continues to advise consumers to discard any milk from the Family Cow dairy purchased since January 1.
The owners of Your Family Cow farm in Chambersburg, PA, one of the largest raw milk dairies on the East Coast, have said tests conducted on three samples of milk by a private lab they retained were negative for pathogens.
On January 27, Maryland and Pennsylvania health authorities issued an alert reporting multiple cases of Campylobacter infection associated with drinking raw milk from the dairy. Your Family Cow sells its unpasteurized milk in retail stores in Pennsylvania, at its farm and at several drop-off locations.
The sale of unpasteurized milk is permitted in Pennsylvania but not allowed in Maryland.
Raw milk, which is milk not heated to kill many harmful bacteria, can become contaminated with a wide variety of germs, including E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Campylobacter, primarily from cow feces. Campylobacteriosis is most often associated with drinking unpasteurized milk or untreated surface water, or eating undercooked poultry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever that typically lasts one week. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms.
About one in every 1,000 reported Campylobacter illnesses leads to Guillain-Barré syndrome, and can result in paralysis. The CDC estimates that as many as 40 percent of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases in the U.S. may be triggered by campylobacteriosis.