MDH: 5 kids sickened by salmonella linked to raw milk

State health officials say they’re investigating a cluster of sicknesses that are believed to have been caused by bacteria in raw milk.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says it has gotten five reports of illnesses caused by salmonella typhimurium among kids in the Twin Cities metro area. Two of the families reported that their kids drank unpasteurized milk before getting sick.

The impacted children ranged in age from 3 months to 10 years old, according to MDH, and one was hospitalized.

“Even healthy animals can carry these germs and have them in their milk,” said Maria Bye, senior epidemiologist in the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at MDH. “Consuming any unpasteurized milk is risky, no matter how clean the operation from which it is purchased.”

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps for four to seven days, health officials say. Kids under 5 and adults over 65, as well as anyone with a weakened immune system, is most at risk for severe illness and hospitalization from the bacteria.

The health department says it is working to find the source of the raw milk causing the illnesses and asks anyone with raw milk to not consume it. Unpasteurized milk is milk that hasn’t been heated to a temperature high enough to kill harmful germs from fecal contamination that can be found in the product.