CDC: Raw Milk from Texas Dairy Contaminated with Brucella Bacteria

SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
A rare but potentially serious bacteria known as Brucella RB51 has been found in raw milk products from a Texas dairy, according to a CDC press release.

CDC officials and the Texas State Department of State Health Services are advising anyone who has consumed these dairy products from K-Bar Dairy in Paradise, Texas, between June 1, 2017 and August 7, 2017, to their health care provider immediately. According to the press release, Brucella RB51 infection can cause long-term complications if untreated, such as arthritis, heart problems, enlargement of the spleen or liver, and nervous system problems. Symptoms of brucellosis include fever, sweats, aches, and fatigue.

So far, 1 incident of infection linked to the dairy has been reported in a Texas woman. Additionally, CDC and Texas officials have received reports about individuals who consumed the milk or have symptoms consistent with brucellosis caused by RB51 in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Ohio, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. Anyone who has consumed these products should receive an antibiotic treatment to prevent infection, according to the CDC statement.

RB51 is a weakened strain of Brucella that is used to vaccinate young female cattle against infection of more serious strains. In rare cases, the vaccinated cows can shed RB51 in their milk. An investigation revealed that 2 cows in the diary herd were infected with Brucella RB51, and testing is ongoing to ensure that the remaining cows do not pose a risk of additional contamination.

More than 800 households in Texas are known to have purchased K-Bar raw milk, and CDC and Texas health officials are attempting to anyone who has been exposed to RB51 by consuming the milk.

The CDC recommends that individuals who have consumed the contaminated milk should be monitored for symptoms and treated with antibiotics doxycycline, in addition to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or another suitable antimicrobial, for 2 days.2

  1. CDC and Texas Health Officials Warn About Illness Linked to Raw Milk from Texas Dairy [news release]. CDC’s website. . Accessed September 20, 2017.
  2. Exposure to RB51 through Raw Milk or Milk Products: How to Reduce Risk of Infection. CDC’s website. .