CDC Dispatch -- German researchers warn HIV-positive individuals that inadequately pasteurized milk could cause Crohn's
Weakened immune system could allow Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis to infect patient, researchers say
In a July dispatch, the Centers for Disease Control published a report entitled Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Infection in a Patient with HIV, Germany by Researchers Elvira Richter and Sabine Rüsch-Gerdes of the National Reference Center for Mycobacteria, Borstel, Germany, and Johannes Wessling, Norbert Lügering, Wolfram Domschke of the University of Münster, Münster, Germany.
AIDS patient exhibits Crohn's symptoms
The patient had a significant AIDS indicator -- evidence of an opportunistic infection by a Mycobacterium species. The patient had developed profuse diarrhea, high fever, and rapid weight loss. Microbiologic analysis of blood, feces, and biopsies revealed that the patient was infected with what was proven to be Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) both by culture and by PCR test using the IS900 sequence.
Pasteurized dairy products -- the source of infection?
The researchers noted that there is a high dairy cattle herd prevalence of MAP in Europe (7% to 55%) and in the United States (approximately 40% in large herds). They warned, "Thus, consumption of inadequately pasteurized dairy products may be a possible risk for infection, especially for immunocompromised patients."
PARA's director agrees
Karen Meyer, co-executive director of PARA (Paratuberculosis Awareness & Research Association) commented, "These researchers are warning HIV-positive patients not to drink inadequately pasteurized milk. Apparently the CDC agrees, otherwise, why would they have posted this study on their website? The obvious question that HIV patients should ask: 'What is inadequate pasteurization?' According to studies in the UK, particularly a recently published study by Dr. Irene Grant, MAP survives pasteurization. Therefore, 'inadequate pasteurization' is a term that applies to the standard used in the U.S. In light of all of this, we agree with the German researchers' recommendation for HIV patients to avoid 'inadequately pasteurized' milk. It is the prudent thing to do. Moreover, we must then ask the question: 'Who else might have compromised or undeveloped immune systems?' How about babies and children? Shouldn't the CDC be issuing warnings concerning them as well? Shouldn't we be keeping inadequately pasteurized dairy products out of their diets?"
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