Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content
CDC Home

Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Campylobacter Outbreak Associated with Certified Raw Milk Products -- California

On May 31, 1984, 28 kindergarten children and seven adults from a private school of 240 students in Whittier, California, visited a certified raw milk (CRM) bottling plant in southern California, where they were given ice cream, kefir, and CRM. Three to 6 days later, several of the group began to experience fever and gastroenteritis. Ultimately, nine children and three adults became ill, and most of them were absent from school. Studies on stools from these 12 individuals for routine bacterial pathogens showed nine positive and three negative for Campylobacter jejuni. Stools were obtained from nine non-ill children in another kindergarten class; these stools did not yield C. jejuni. The only common foods these children (ill and non-ill) ate were hamburgers, which are provided every Thursday to their school by a fast-food hamburger chain. No one else in the school became sick. Reported in Public Health Letter 1984;6, Los Angeles County Dept of Human Svcs, California Morbidity (June 15, 1984), California Dept of Health Svcs; Enteric Diseases Br, Div of Bacterial Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Other Campylobacter outbreaks have been linked to consumption of raw milk, including CRM (1). In June 1984, 17 members of a kindergarten class on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, visited a raw milk dairy; 13 drank raw milk. Nine persons became ill a median of 4 days after visiting the dairy. Stools from 10 persons were cultured; three yielded C. jejuni; four did not; the results of three are still pending (2). During 1983, two outbreaks of campylobacteriosis followed consumption of raw milk on school-sponsored outings in Pennsylvania (3). Similar outbreaks also occurred in 1981 and 1982 in Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont. Technology does not presently exist to prevent contamination of raw milk supplies by Campylobacter, which is present in the intestinal tracts of about 40% of dairy cattle (4). Although infection may be more common than recognized, episodes of illness often are not well documented.


  1. Potter ME, Blaser MJ, Sikes RK, Kaufmann AF, Wells JG. Human Campylobacter infection associated with certified raw milk. Am J Epidemiol 1983;117:475-83.

  2. Kindergarten field trip to a farm, June 25, 1984, Vancouver Island. Disease Surveillance, British Columbia 1984;5:201-3.

  3. CDC. Campylobacteriosis associated with raw milk consumption--Pennsylvania. MMWR 1983;32:337-8, 344.

  4. Martin WT, Patton CM, Morris GK, Potter ME, Puhr ND. Selective enrichment broth medium for isolation of Campylobacter jejuni. J Clin Microbio 1983;17:853-5.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.

All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from typeset documents. This conversion might result in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users are referred to the electronic PDF version ( and/or the original MMWR paper copy for printable versions of official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #