Bacterial infection of three residents could be from bad milk

By Margaret Gibbons, Special to The Mercury



Source of Article:

NORRISTOWN Three Montgomery County residents have been stricken with a bacteria infection that may be linked to raw milk produced and sold at a Bucks County farm, according to health officials.


Acting on the recommendation of the state Department of Agriculture, the Hendricks Farm and Dairy of Telford has voluntarily suspended the sale of raw milk until laboratory results of milk samples gathered last week are complete, according to state agriculture press secretary Chris Ryder.

The completed test results should be available later today, Ryder said.

The farm issued a statement on its Web site that said, "HF & D is very concerned by the health issues some families have suffered from recently."

"We are willingly complying with the commonwealth's recommended temporary discontinuation of fluid raw milk sales. We continue to comply with all regulations and guidelines and we remain optimistic that we will be exonerated when the test results become available Tuesday. At this time, there is no conclusive evidence. Our track record and history consist of stellar test results and we have never had a positive pathogen test in our 7-year history."

Tests performed last week by the company's normal laboratory did not indicate any problems, according to the Web site.

The farm sells some 600 gallons of raw, unpasteurized milk a week to more than 300 families, according to the Web site.

Montgomery County health officials Friday reported that two residents were diagnosed with campylobacteriosis linked to raw milk produced at the farm.

Another case was confirmed Monday, according to county health department spokesman Harriet Morton.

The residents, from the Harleysville, Pennsburg and Huntingdon Valley areas, are among seven cases reported statewide and one from a neighboring state in the outbreak, she said. The one common source in all of the cases is raw milk purchased at the Hendricks Farm and Dairy, Morton added.

Campylobacter bacteria can be found in raw or undercooked fruits, vegetables, poultry and meat, unprocessed water and unpasteurized dairy products. The bacteria can also be contracted through direct contact with animals including cattle, dogs and cats, poultry, rodents and birds.

To date, there have been 66 cases of campylobacteriosis reported this year in the county. There were 91 cases in 2007. The county averages between 80 and 90 cases a year.

What makes this cluster different from the other cases is that they appear to stem from one cause while most other cases are unrelated, according to Morton.

Symptoms of the bacterial infection include diarrhea that is often bloody, abdominal pain, weakness, fever, nausea and vomiting, said Morton.

Onset of the infection occurs two to five days after exposure and the symptoms usually continue for up to one week. Prolonged illness and relapses may occur in adults although most persons infected with the bacteria recover without any specific treatment, according to Morton.

Persons wanting more information about campylobacter infections can contact the county health department at 610-278-5117 or go to the federal Centers for Disease Control's Web site at



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