ST. PAUL (WJON News) - Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health are investigating an outbreak of illnesses linked to raw milk from a Hillman, Minnesota farm. 

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The illnesses have been traced to Cryptosporidium parvum, a parasite commonly found in cattle, and passed to humans by drinking raw milk. 

The eight cases of cryptosporidiosis and one case of E. coli O111:H8 all reported buying or drinking raw milk from the Healthy Harvest Farm and Kitchen prior to getting sick. Four cases are children under ten years old and one has been hospitalized.

Raw milk has not gone through the pasteurization process to kill harmful fecal germs that can contaminate milk. Pasteurization is the only effective method to kill the germs. 

Carrie Klumb is a senior epidemiologist in the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at MDH.

Cattle can naturally carry Cryptosporidium and E. coli in their digestive system and shed these germs in their manure even though the animal is not sick. Contamination of the milk with manure can occur during the milking process, and if the milk is not pasteurized, the germs will not be killed. Consuming any unpasteurized milk, no matter how well the animals are cared for and how clean the operation is, puts people at risk of getting sick.

Symptoms of E. coli infections include:

  • Stomach cramps,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Weight loss.

Anyone who purchased milk from the Healthy Harvest Farm and Kitchen is asked to throw it away.

If you, or someone you know, has experienced gastrointestinal illness after drinking unpasteurized milk from Healthy Harvest Farm and Kitchen, please fill out this confidential online survey.





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