According to CIDRAP News, an outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 in Washington has sickened up to 18 people, including 15 children younger than 13, and has triggered renewed warnings about drinking raw milk.
Preliminary tests by the Washington State Department of Agriculture revealed E.coli O157:H7 in milk from Dee Creek Farm near Woodland, Washington, and from a customer’s home.
Dee Creek Farm is not a licensed raw-milk dairy. The state of Washington allows limited sales of raw milk by inspected and licensed dairies. There are only six such dairies in the state. The state stopped the distribution of Dee Creek Farm’s milk last week.
The outbreak triggered a new warning from the US Food and Drug Administration against drinking raw milk, and that pasteurization is the only effective method for eliminating bacteria. Besides E.coli infection, pasteurization of milk can prevent a number of other contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, polio, Q fever, salmonellosis, strep throat, scarlet fever, and typhoid fever.
More than 300 people in the United States got sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk in 2001.