In February of 2013, a cow share program on the Kenai Peninsula was identified as the source of a Campylobacter outbreak. According to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology, the Kenai cow share distributed its raw milk throughout the Kenai Peninsula, in Anchorage, and in Sitka. At least 31 people in Alaska fell ill with Campylobacter infections in February; at least 2 people were hospitalized due to the severity of their Campylobacter infections.
On May 23, 2013, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that the same Kenai Peninsula cow share program was the source of at least 5 cases of Campylobacter among Alaska residents. The “genetic fingerprint” of the Campylobacter bacteria isolated from 2 people who sought medical attention for their Campylobacter infections was a match to the fingerprint of the bacteria isolated from ill individuals in february.
Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Alaska State Epidemiologist, said that the genetic fingerprint of the Campylobacter bacteria isolated from ill individuals and a cow at the Kenai dairy was unique and had never been seen before in the United States.
Campylobacter causes diarrhea and stomach cramps within 10 days after infection. Anyone who has consumed raw milk and become ill with diarrhea should notify a healthcare provider. Campylobacter infection can cause bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, arthritis and in rare cases paralysis.