Raw milk is confirmed as the reason dozens were sickened in west central Wisconsin.
State health officials say nearly 40 people fell ill after drinking the unpasteurized milk at a dinner in September for the Durand High School football team. That’s according to the state Health Services Department investigative report, obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It says 32 of the 38 people who got sick drank raw milk, and the other six may have done so. Ten of the 38 people were sick enough to be hospitalized. Among those sickened included 33 students and five coaches.
The most commonly reported signs and symptoms of illness among the case attendees were diarrhea, headache, fever, chills and sweats.
According to the report, “The results of the epidemiologic and laboratory investigations conducted by DPH, PCHD, DATCP, WVDL and WSLH determined that consumption of Farm A unpasteurized milk during the Thursday team dinner was associated with the occurrence of Campylobacter jejuni infections among football team-affiliated individuals.”
Officials said last week that the milk came from the Roland and Diana Reed farm of nearby Arkansaw in Pepin County. Diana told the Journal Sentinel she did not believe the farm’s raw milk was to blame for the illnesses.
No legal action has yet been taken against the farm.
Health experts say campylobacter infections can be prevented by proper food handling (e.g., prompt refrigeration of food at <40°F, disinfecting cutting boards and counters immediately after use), avoiding consumption of raw or undercooked meat, washing hands before and after food preparation and after handling animals (including pets), and avoiding consumption of unpasteurized milk.