Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Health today advised residents who purchased milk from Creamworks Creamery in Waymart, Wayne County, they should not drink it or use it in cooking because it may contain a bacteria, Yersinia enterocolitica, that could make them sick.
“While we continue our investigation, it’s important for anyone who bought milk from this dairy to throw it away or return it,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Creamworks Creamery has voluntarily stopped selling milk and is working with us to determine the source of the contamination. Anyone who consumed milk from Creamworks Creamery and became ill should contact their health care provider or us at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).”
The department is currently investigating 17 laboratory-confirmed illnesses caused by Yersinia enterocolitica, and numerous additional reports of digestive illnesses. The illnesses seem to be connected to only milk sold at the dairy.
Creamworks Creamery is certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to pasteurize milk at the farm. The dairy produces, pasteurizes and bottles milk on the farm for distribution to local customers including restaurants and grocery stores. They also sell milk to the public at an on-site farm stand.
Yersinia enterocolitica is a bacteria that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and can sometimes enter the bloodstream and affect other organs. Onset of illness usually occurs four to six days after exposure but can be as short as one day or as long as two weeks. This bacteria can cause severe infections and the illness can mimic appendicitis and sometimes leads to unnecessary surgery.
Yersinia is a rarely reported cause of foodborne illness in Pennsylvania, with an average of 24 cases annually across Pennsylvania. Many hospital laboratories do not routinely look for Yersinia in samples; therefore, Yersinia infections may be missed unless proper laboratory technique is used.
Any person who consumed milk from Creamworks Creamery and became ill is recommended to contact their health care provider to assure appropriate specimens are collected and treatment is administered if necessary. Ill individuals, health care providers, or laboratories can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).
For more information about Yersinia and other illnesses, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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