CLACKAMAS COUNTY - Health officials are issuing an alert about unpasteurized milk that is believed to be the source of E.coli infections in four children.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, three of the four children (they are all under 15 years old) have been hospitalized. Two of them have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure.
All four of them drank unpasteurized milk that came from Foundation Farm in Clackamas County.
The farm has voluntarily stopped its milk distribution but anyone who already has some of their milk is being advised to throw it out. The dairy only distributed to 48 households that were part of a herd-share, so the problem isn't widespread.
Here in Oregon, retail stores are not allowed to sell raw milk and in light of what has happened, health officials want to remind folks about the benefits of drinking pasteurized milk.
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"Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria that can make you very sick or kill you," Katrina Hedberg, M.D., M.P.H., Oregon Public Health Division state epidemiologist, said in a news release. "Pasteurized milk has many health benefits. Raw milk is not any healthier than pasteurized milk and can carry illness-causing bacteria."
The symptoms of E.coli infections include diarrhea (sometimes bloody) and abdominal pain. They tend to develop within two to eight days after eating or drinking contaminated food. Young children and the elderly, especially, can suffer from kidney failure and end up with other related complications.