COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Public health agencies in southern Colorado have issued warnings while they investigate an outbreak of infections linked to raw milk.
Health officials said as many as 20 people have reported becoming sick after drinking raw milk supplied by Larga Vista Ranch in Pueblo County. The ranch has not been cited by health officials.
Phone calls to the ranch were not answered on Saturday, and they did not respond immediately to an email seeking comment.
The infection causes fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, and it can be fatal, officials said.
The El Paso and Pueblo county health departments say the milk was supplied to members of a herd-share program, which allows people to purchase stakes in livestock and to receive a portion of each animal’s milk or meat.
Selling raw milk is usually illegal in Colorado, but herd-share programs offer an exception.
Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, El Paso County Public Health’s medical director, said the infections focus attention on the dangers of drinking raw, unpasteurized milk.
“Sometimes people think that raw foods of all kinds are healthier,” she said. “But in this case, raw milk is very dangerous to be drinking.”
Health officials say infants, young children, pregnant women, seniors and people with weak immune systems are most at risk.