Raw milk from a Knox County, Tenn., dairy is at the center of an E. coli outbreak that has sent at least three children to the hospital and led to a raid of the dairy.
As of Nov. 5, this number climbed to eight cases of E. coli illness among children, according to an update from U.S. Food Safety available here.
WATE TV News reports that deputies and officials from the Tennessee Health Department swarmed the McBee Dairy Farm in Mascot, Tenn., after the dairy’s raw milk was suspected in a local E. coli outbreak.
A cease-and-desist order was placed on the dairy pending further investigation.
Owner Marcie McBee points that she warns all of her customers about the risks involved with drinking raw milk.
"We were aware of it and our customers have all been made aware of it several times," she told the TV station. "Our goal is to keep our customers safe.”
Knox County Health Director Martha Buchanan says that a case of E. coli can go from mild to severe over the course of just a few days.
"In children, in particular, if they get E. coli 157 and the symptoms would be fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. They can kind of have a mild case and then in a few days they can get really sick," Buchanan said.
WATE also reports the first batch of tests results from the dairy came back negative for E. coli bacteria. Results from more recent rounds of tests have yet to come in, as of Nov. 4.
Despite the initial negative results, officials have identified additional cases of E. coli infections. Read more.
E. coli can produce a toxin called Shiga, which can lead to severe illness. The infection can also cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be especially dangerous for people with compromised immune systems, such as children.
Raw milk has been at the center of several raw milk outbreaks this year, including one in Canada that killed a person and sickened nearly a dozen more in an E. coli outbreak linked to raw milk cheese. In March, 24 people in Alaska fell ill in a campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk, and Washington officials urged consumers in February to stop drinking raw milk after tests confirmed E. coli in raw milk from a local dairy.