Health Department and the Agency of Agriculture Investigate Raw Milk Consumption Concern

For Immediate Release: May 15, 2009

Media Contacts: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281
Kelly Loftus, Agency of Agriculture
802-828-3829

BURLINGTON – Twenty-one people who may have consumed raw milk from a cow infected with rabies have been advised by the Vermont Department of Health to discuss rabies vaccination with their health care provider.

There is no documented case of a human becoming infected with rabies by drinking raw milk from a rabid cow, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, as a precautionary measure, the Health Department has recommended that anyone who may have been exposed to the virus should discuss possible treatment with their health care provider.

The Health Department and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets have identified those individuals who may have consumed the raw milk, including people who bought raw milk from the small Lamoille County farm.

Raw milk can potentially contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria or viruses – including Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria Campylobacter and Brucella, and the rabies virus.

There is no risk of exposure to the public from pasteurized milk. Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to a temperature that kills harmful viruses and bacteria.

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