September 15, 2017
2 min read

Brucella RB51 found in raw milk from Texas dairy

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Anyone who has consumed raw milk or raw milk products from a certain Texas dairy within a roughly 2-month period this summer should immediately contact a health care provider, the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), are urging.

Raw milk from the K-Bar Dairy in Paradise, a community northwest of Fort Worth, tested positive for Brucella RB51 bacteria, which is rare but can cause serious illness, according to a CDC news release.

Anyone who consumed the milk or products from it between June 1 and August 7 should receive antibiotic treatment, the agency urged.

“It’s very important for people who drank raw milk from this dairy to seek treatment to prevent infection with Brucella RB51,” William Bower, MD, team lead the CDC group investigating brucellosis, said in the news release. “Even if people don’t have symptoms now, they can develop a chronic infection that can impact their health for years to come.”

Milk from K-Bar has been confirmed to have infected one person, a Texas woman, the CDC said. But purchase records and reports of illness have led investigators to believe that other people in Texas and people far from there, including those in states like California and North Dakota, may need antibiotics to treat or prevent infection.

“CDC and Texas health officials have been trying to reach people in more than 800 households known to have purchased K-Bar raw milk,” the CDC release said. “Texas is following up with 170. CDC tried to contact the remaining 672 households, but many did not provide contact information. Of the 485 households with contact information, CDC successfully reached 236 households. Among the 236 households, 83% of people were exposed to RB51 by drinking the milk.”

At first, those with brucellosis have fever, sweats, aches and fatigue, the CDC added. But if it is left untreated, Brucella RB51 infection can cause arthritis, heart issues, enlargement of the spleen or liver, or sometimes nervous system disease like meningitis. Brucella RB51 can also cause serious illness in those with weakened immune systems and can cause miscarriages.

Physicians can find information on testing for RB51 and on which antibiotics to use in preventing infection at

Those who have consumed the milk should check for fever for 4 weeks after the last time they drank it, the CDC said. They should also check for other brucellosis symptoms for 6 months. Those symptoms include muscle pain, lasting fatigue, arthritis, depression and swelling of the testicles, among others.

K-Bar has complied with Texas dairy laws and is cooperating with the investigation, according to the DSHS. – by Joe Green