Officials with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), Department of Agriculture and New Mexico Environment Department are investigating cases of cryptosporidiosis, or “crypto,” among residents of the state.

Image/Alex Ex
Image/Alex Ex

Since August 31st, there have been 6 confirmed cases. Each reported to NMDOH consumption of raw milk products. The affected individuals are from Bernalillo County. Epidemiologists, laboratory staff and inspectors are working to confirm the source of the outbreak.

“Raw milk products may be contaminated with a variety of infectious pathogens,” said Secretary of Health Designate Lynn Gallagher. “We are particularly concerned about the very young, the elderly and others with compromised immune systems who may develop more severe illness if exposed to contaminated raw milk products.”

NMDOH recommends that anyone in New Mexico who has raw milk products discard the product to prevent infection. Raw milk and products made from it can pose severe health risks. Raw milk has not undergone pasteurization, an accepted food safety process that involves heating milk to destroy disease-causing germs, such as CampylobacterE. coliListeria, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium, the parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis.

Common symptoms of crypto include: diarrhea, stomach cramps or pain, dehydration (which is often most serious in the very young and the very old), nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 10 days after infection and normally last for one to two weeks. Once a person is infected, the parasites live in the intestines and are passed in the stool.

Those who have consumed raw milk or raw milk products and are experiencing symptoms are advised to consult their health care provider for testing, symptom management, and treatment, if necessary.