Kansas health officials issue raw milk warning

? At least 87 people in southwest and south-central Kansas have been sickened by a bacteria found in raw milk, health officials said.

Citing two recent outbreaks, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Tuesday warned Kansans not to consume raw milk or products made from raw milk.

In Kearny County, 68 people became ill and two of them were hospitalized after eating cheese made from unpasteurized milk donated by a local dairy for a community celebration.

At least 19 others were sickened with campylobacteriosis after drinking raw milk purchased directly from a dairy in south-central Kansas.

The illness usually causes diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, headache and muscle pain. Most people recover within 10 days, but on rare occasions complications develop.

The names of the dairies were not released, pending the state’s investigation.

Elsewhere, Reno County health officials suspected raw milk was to blame for sickening three people in four months.

County Health Department Director Judy Seltzer said the number of people sickened by raw milk seems to be on the rise, possibly because of a move by the public to “organic and natural” foods.

“We’re hoping we can help people understand that it’s best, if they’re going to use raw milk, that they take steps in processing to be sure it is essentially pasteurized.”