5 children sickened with salmonella after drinking raw milk: MDH

Berlin, Germany - January 26: In this photo illustration milk is being poured from a glass bottle into a glass on January 26, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a cluster of salmonella cases after five children became sick from drinking unpasteurized milk. 

The MDH said five cases of illnesses caused by salmonella typhimurium have been reported in the Twin Cities metro between the end of June to early July. Families of two children reported they consumed unpasteurized milk.

The children ranged in age from 3 months to 10 years, one of which was hospitalized. The MDH said one child was also infected with E. coli in addition to Salmonella, emphasizing it’s possible to get multiple infections from unpasteurized milk. 

Unpasteurized milk can carry harmful germs like Campylobacter, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, and Salmonella. When milk isn’t heated high enough to kill germs from fecal contamination, people can get sick.

"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." 

Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which often develop within 6 hours to several days after eating contaminated foods. The illness can last up to a week. 

MDH is working to determine the source of the unpasteurized milk and warns people who have raw milk to not consume it.  

"If you have raw or unpasteurized milk in your refrigerator, please do not consume it," Bye said. "If you have developed gastrointestinal illness after consuming unpasteurized milk, contact your health care provider."