A large outbreak of Campylobacter associated with raw milk consumption and a Cumbrian dairy farm
PHE ePoster Library. Kenyon J. Sep 12, 2017; 186507; 120
Janey Kenyon
Janey Kenyon
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Abstract
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Abstract In December 2016, a large outbreak of Campylobacter was identified in Cumbria associated with raw cow's milk consumption, which resulted in 69 adults and children with illness (16 confirmed and 53 probable). The outbreak was investigated by environmental, epidemiological and laboratory evidence leading to an award winning working dairy farm in Cumbria being identified as the source. The dairy farm had started selling raw cow's milk in March 2016 and despite minimal deficiencies being noted during scheduled dairy inspections and satisfactory results from routine raw milk testing, the raw milk was found to be contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni. The outbreak generated widespread media interest; leading to local, national and international comment. Media reports included public perception of raw milk from groups advocating raw milk consumption for its perceived health benefits. Public perception is that raw milk is a low risk food product, however, it is well documented that raw milk is a real health risk. It can be contaminated with dangerous human pathogens and cause milk-borne illnesses.Raw milk health warnings were found to be substandard at the dairy farm in this outbreak. Public education about raw milk risks requires good communication. In today's digital era, public education about raw milk needs to include comprehensive internet/website -based information and involve social media. Routine testing of raw milk assesses coliform and total viable count numbers; this does not guarantee raw milk is safe for consumption. Broader testing is required to reduce the risk of future outbreaks associated with this environmental hazard.
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