The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising anyone who consumed Udder Milk products to seek medical attention. According to the CDC, people who drank raw milk from the company may have been infected with a rare germ called Brucella abortus RB51, which can cause an illness called brucellosis.
Officials say a New Jersey woman became sick with an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacteria after consuming Udder Milk earlier this year.
Udder Milk operates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The FDA describes the company as a “co-op on wheels” that makes deliveries. Udder Milk’s website says the company offers raw milk, yogurt, sour cream, butter and various cheeses, as well as camel milk.
Little information is available about which farms may be supplying contaminated milk. As a result, the CDC recommends that anyone who drank raw milk or consumed raw milk products from Udder Milk in the past six months visit their doctor for antibiotics to prevent illness.
“Because health officials have no direct way to let people know they may have drunk contaminated milk, everyone who consumed milk from Udder Milk in the past 6 months should receive antibiotics now to avoid having long-term health effects from the bacteria,” William Bower, M.D., team lead for the CDC group that investigates brucellosis, said in a statement.
People who have consumed raw Udder Milk should also check themselves daily for fever for one month after they last drank it. They should also watch for symptoms of brucellosis, including muscle pain, lasting fatigue, arthritis, depression, and swelling of the testicles. It may take as long as six months before symptoms first appear.
If left untreated, Brucella RB51 infection can result in long-term health problems such as arthritis, heart problems, enlargement of the spleen or liver, and, in rare cases, nervous system problems like meningitis.
It can also cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems and miscarriages in pregnant women, the CDC says.
Officials say they are investigating Udder Milk’s supplier because the company hasn’t reported its dairy source.