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State health officials warn about drinking raw milk

State regulators warned consumers about drinking raw milk or other dairy products from a Pennsylvania farm after a New York State resident was diagnosed with an infection caused by a bacteria found in unpasteurized milk.

The Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture and Markets issued an alert about consuming raw dairy from Miller's Biodiversity Farm in Lancaster County, Pa., which was determined to be the likely source of the infection with RB51, a strain of the Brucella abortus bacteria.

Officials urged individuals who drank or used such products to immediately throw them out and contact their doctors about treatment. Pet owners who are concerned should talk to their veterinarians, the warning continued.

Brucellosis, caused by the bacteria, can result in fever, sweats, chills, weight loss, headache, fatigue and pain in the muscles and joints. Symptoms may appear for up to six months after exposure. Severe cases may cause infections of the bones, joints, reproductive organs, central nervous system or lining of the heart, as well as fetal loss in pregnant women. Pasteurization prior to consumption kills the bacteria by heating the milk to a certain temperature for a certain length of time.

This is the third case of an individual infected with RB51 because of raw milk in the United States in the past two years. The first two, who live in Texas and New Jersey, were diagnosed in 2017. The most recent person is being treated and is doing well, the advisory said.

The infection was confirmed by the state's Wadsworth Center Laboratory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials alerted the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which ordered a quarantine to stop the sale of raw dairy products from the farm.

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