The Delaware Department of Public Health is urging the state’s residents to be cautious regarding dairy products, and to refrain from consuming raw or unpasteurized dairy products.
The warning follows the infection of a 46-year-old Sussex County woman with a confirmed case of brucellosis caused by Brucella melitensis, a bacterial infection typically caused by consuming or coming in contact with contaminated animals or animal products. DPH says the woman consumed unpasteurized, homemade dairy products from Mexico. The infection is most frequently transmitted by eating or drinking raw or unpasteurized dairy products such as milk and cheese. DPH officials say Brucellosis is not common in the U.S. and there are typically only 200 human cases reported each year. Delaware’s DPH has confirmed just 3 cases since 2010, occurring in 2010, 2017 and 2018.
DPH Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong said “Cases such as this one can serve as an unfortunate reminder that we are vulnerable to certain bacteria and should take precautions to protect ourselves.” He continued “Delawareans are encouraged to avoid purchasing and consuming unpasteurized dairy products. Consuming questionable food items is not worth the risk to your health.”
Signs and symptoms of brucellosis are similar to the flu and initial symptoms include fever, sweats, anorexia, headache, muscle or joint pain and fatigue. No vaccine exists so officials urge you to take preventative measures including refraining from consuming unpasteurized milk or dairy products and to read the label on milk or milk products before you buy them.
The infected woman was treated at the hospital and is recovering after being released.