Raw milk in Michigan sickens three women

June 24, 2011 at 2:45 PM

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 24 (UPI) -- Three women in Michigan were stricken with the first local cases of Q fever in 20 years and raw milk is suspected as the cause, health authorities say.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says the women, two from Washtenaw County and one from Monroe County, became ill with the bacterial infection after consuming milk from a Livingston County farm, AnnArbor.com reported Friday.

Q fever is an infection caused by an organism found in farm animals, especially goats, cattle and sheep, and causes flu-like symptoms.

Most victims recover but the infection can cause life-threatening pneumonia and inflammation of the liver, heart and central nervous system, the MDCH said.

Raw milk is not pasteurized, a process that can kill disease-causing organisms.

The milk consumed by the women who became ill is not available at retail outlets, AnnArbor.com said.

Officials with the Livingston County Health Department were doing a review with the farm, the department said.

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