It was the Campy in raw milk provided by parents that sickened 38 related to a Wisconsin high school football team

When Bri­anna Win­nekins, 18, was ad­mit­ted to Chippewa Val­ley Hospi­tal in Du­rand Sept. 22, her par­ents, Karla and Brian, had no idea what was caus­ing her symp­toms, which in­cluded a 105-de­gree fever.

colbert.raw.milkIt didn’t take long be­fore more Du­rand High School stu­dents — all as­so­ci­ated with the foot­ball team — be­gan be­ing ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal and a link was made be­tween the ill­ness and a team din­ner at a Du­rand church Sept. 18.

On Oct. 24, State Depart­ment of Health Ser­vices of­fi­cials an­nounced raw milk served at a potluck team meal likely caused the out­break of ill­ness among Du­rand High School foot­ball play­ers, man­agers and coaches in Septem­ber.

The out­break af­fected 38 mem­bers of the foot­ball team who at­tended the team din­ner on Sept. 18. Test­ing per­formed at the State Lab of Hy­giene and area labs and clin­ics con­firmed that the ill­ness was caused by Campy­lobac­ter je­juni bac­te­ria.

As part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, state DHS of­fi­cials in­ter­viewed all of the foot­ball team mem­bers and coach­ing staff to as­sess ill­nesses and ask ques­tions about ac­tiv­i­ties, foods, wa­ter sources and pos­si­ble causes of the ill­ness. They dis­cov­ered the con­sump­tion of raw milk was the only com­mon­al­ity among them that could cause the ill­ness.

The team meal and drinks were pro­vided by a group of team par­ents, said Karla Win­nekins. Win­nekins said her daugh­ter was not aware that the milk she was drink­ing was raw milk.

“Our daugh­ter said, had she known it was raw milk, she would not have drank it,” Win­nekins said.

Karla Win­nekins is more pointed in her opin­ion of whether raw milk should have been avail­able at the team func­tion.

While this is the first time stu­dents and coaches as­so­ci­ated with the Du­rand foot­ball team have got­ten sick from drink­ing raw milk, Win­nekins said this is likely not the first time raw milk has been served at a team din­ner.

“It’s scary,” Win­nekins said. “I’ve read the good about raw milk, and I’ve read the bad. But just be­cause some­thing has been done in the past and it has turned out OK doesn’t make it right.”