MDH: 8 sickened in outbreak linked to raw milk

Minnesota health officials say eight recent illnesses have been linked to raw milk that was bought from a Morrison County farm.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the department has confirmed eight cases of cryptosporidiosis and one case of E. coli O111:H8 illness, which are caused by a parasite commonly found in cattle.

The health department believes the cases are connected to raw milk sold from Healthy Harvest Farm and Kitchen in Hillman, which may be labeled natural A2 milk.

MDH is urging anyone who may have milk from that farm to throw it away.

The illnesses have affected eight people, with one of them infected with Cryptosporidium parvum and E. coli O111:H8 at the same time, MDH says. Four of them are under the age of 10 and one was hospitalized.

“Cattle can naturally carry Cryptosporidium and E. coli in their digestive system and shed these germs in their manure even though the animal is not sick. Contamination of the milk with manure can occur during the milking process, and if the milk is not pasteurized, the germs will not be killed,” said Carrie Klumb, senior epidemiologist in the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at MDH. “Consuming any unpasteurized milk, no matter how well the animals are cared for and how clean the operation is, puts people at risk for getting sick.”

MDH says people infected with Cryptosporidium can develop watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, loss of appetite and weight loss, and those with E. coli infections often experience similar symptoms.

Anyone who has had a gastrointestinal illness after consuming unpasteurized milk from Healthy Harvest Farm and Kitchen is urged to contact MDH by emailing or filling out an online survey here.