The small, family-operated dairy farm is in Wise County, about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth and 60 miles northwest of Dallas. It produces around 120 gallons per day of raw milk, a type of milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful microorganisms.
A person who drank raw milk from K-Bar was hospitalized with symptoms of fever, joint pain and fatigue. The bacteria was resistant to at least two antibiotics, rifampicin and penicillin.
Strains of Brucella bacteria were later detected in samples from K-Bar Dairy, the Department of State Health Services said in an alert issued Monday.
K-Bar did not immediately respond for comment and no mention of the alert has been posted on its website. However, the company has been answering consumer questions on its Facebook page.
“No milk is being sold until we find the source of the outbreak,” the company said on the page. The DSHS says the company is cooperating fully with the investigation.
The Brucella bacteria shows up in the raw milk of infected animals, like sheep, goats and cows, and the most common source of human infection is eating or drinking unpasteurized products.
The recovery process for someone sickened from the bacteria can take months, depending on the timing of treatment and the severity of illness. Death occurs in no more than 2 percent of all cases.
However, the infection is also unusual. Without specific testing, the disease may not be diagnosed correctly. Therefore it can remain in the person’s system, the state health agency said. Long-term signs can include recurrent fevers, neurologic problems and swelling of the heart, liver, testicles or spleen.
People who drank K-Bar’s raw dairy products since June are at at highest risk, according to the alert. Pregnant women who ingest the bacteria are at risk of premature delivery and miscarriage. Anyone who consumed the K-Bar raw milk products since January should watch for persistent symptoms.
K-Bar sells milk, yogurt and kombucha (a fermented beverage that is made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast) among other products. Consumers are advised to discard, and not consume, any raw milk products from the company.
Licensed raw milk distributors like K-Bar are only permitted to sell their milk and milk products on the farm, so these products are not available in stores, a DSHS spokesman said.
In 2016, a record 13 Texans were confirmed to have brucellosis infections in a separate outbreak of the condition. Those cases were linked to people eating unpasteurized cheese that was imported from Mexico.
Story updated on Aug. 15 to note that K-Bar Dairy said no milk will be sold until the source of the outbreak is found.
Source: The Dallas Morning News