The Alaska Department of Health and Human Services has issued an updated bulletin about a raw-milk associated outbreak that began in May.

An article in the Anchorage Daily News reports that an outbreak of a serious gastrointestinal illness connected to consumption of raw milk from an Alaska dairy is ongoing, with seven confirmed cases and 11 more that are suspected. The outbreak connected to unpasteurized milk began in May and has continued into July, according to a report from the state health officials.

On June 24, the Alaska Section of Epidemiology (SOE) distributed an advisory through the Public Health Alert Network to alert health care providers of the outbreak and to recommend testing for Campylobacter in patients who presented with acute gastrointestinal (GI) illness and a history of raw milk consumption. SOE received calls from five community members reporting current and previous GI illness among persons in their households with a preceding history of consuming Farm A raw milk or cream.

Three of the six samples tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni; all isolates were the same rare strain of C. jejuni found in the four other laboratory-confirmed cases in this outbreak. These three persons shared raw dairy products obtained from Farm A during the first week of July. A total of 11 persons who reported acute GI illness with routine consumption of Farm A dairy products but were not-laboratory confirmed were considered to have suspected campylobacteriosis.

The SEO report  says the identical rare strain of C. jejuni has been identified in all laboratory-confirmed patients associated with this outbreak and Farm A cow manure specimens. These laboratory findings combined with the epidemiologic finding that Farm A raw dairy product consumption is the only exposure common to all seven laboratory-confirmed cases (and the 11 suspect cases) affirms the conclusion that this outbreak is due to consumption of Farm A raw dairy products.

Read the full report here. For more information on raw milk from the Food and Drug Administration, click here.