Mark..the Shiga toxin exists in both Shigella and e-coli 0157:H7. This is a quote taken from an emedicine article on Shigella infection.
The characteristic virulence trait is encoded on a large plasmid, which is responsible for synthesis of polypeptides causing cytotoxicity. Shigellae those lose the virulence plasmid are no longer pathogenic. Escherichia coli (E coli 0157:H7) that harbor this plasmid clinically behave a Shigella bacteria..Shiga toxin 1 is synthesized in significant amount by S dysenteriae serotype 1 and S flexneri 2a and E coli (Shigella toxin-producing E coli)
What this means is they found the Shiga toxin in Chris, but not the specific bacteria that caused the Shiga toxin. Both Shigella and E coli 0157:H7 emit this toxin when the bacteria die off. However, In persons infected with S dysenteria type 1, early administration of effective antibiotics decreased Shiga toxin concentrations in the stool and lowers the risk of HUS. However, the risk of HUS caused by E coli 0157:H7 may be increased with the early administration of antibiotics.
There is no way anyone could know what bacteria caused Chris to become ill. However, he was initially diagnosed with Shigella (we received this diagnosis on the 5th day in the hospital which was the 3rd Kaiser facility we had been in). This is the way it was presented to us (paraphrase). We think Chris has Shigella even though the bacteria were not isolated. We did find the Shiga toxin. Chris has HUS and we have never treated a case of HUS that developed from Shigella (only from e-coli), so we dont know if the HUS will progress in the same manner as it does with e-coli contamination. Two days later we were airlifted to Loma Linda University Childrens hospital.
A few days after we arrived at Loma Linda, the CDC showed up asking us all sorts of questions. What change the entire equation was having two children at this hospital that both drank raw milk in the same time period, who became symptomatic on the same day, and who were both diagnosed with HUS on the same. The e-coli bacteria was isolated in the other child. This is when Chris diagnosis was change to E-coli 0157:H7.
Childrens hospitals typically have two to three children a year who develop HUS after e-coli contamination. They are mostly random cases and the source is usually not identified. To have two children at the same hospital who are not siblings (because they ate the same food) who both have HUS is unheard of. Then add to that 2 other children who were also reported becoming ill after drinking OP raw milk and all three children had the same blueprint of e-coli (meaning it came from the same source).
What are the chances that Chris had Shigella and the other children all had e-coli? However, I have always been curious as to why they initially diagnosed him with Shigella? Common sense would dictate a diagnosis of e-coli since they never isolated the bacteria; especially considering the fact they never treated a child with Shigella induced HUS. This conflict of diagnosis has left me unsettled.
It would behoove both of us if there were factual reasons for this diagnosis. I would be able to emotionally live with some random reason he got Shigella (not me giving him the milk) and you wouldnt have me on the internet claiming your milk got my son sick. It would be a win win situation.
Thanks for the info on the keifer. When Chris came home from the hospital, he was on a 450 billion dose of probiotics for about a week and now he is on a maintenance dose of 20 billion a day. Im going to attempt making keifer from coconut water. Its supposed to be fabulous. Im sorry to say I could never try raw milk again. I dont have the confidence you have.
Mark McAfeethank you for identifying yourself. I want to commend you for your passion for raw milk. You are on a mission and I admire people with a mission! You run an amazing dairy with the utmost care to prevent pathogens from entering your milk supply. You are definitely a responsible dairyman. If a pathogen somehow entered OP milk, it would not be due to an irresponsible act on your part. You are a good man, following his passion and producing a product that you believe helps peoples health.
The state of California has you under a microscope and you a passing all scrutiny with flying colors. Im sure you take immense pride in the milk you produce.
I also believe in the benefits raw milk has to offer or I would never have given it to my child. Im not angry with you because I believe my son became ill from OP milk. Im not even angry with the medical system that almost killed our son. No on intentionally tried to harm my child. I share my story to make people think. E-coli and Shigella contamination is not like getting the common cold. The Shiga toxin can be deadly. Other food borne pathogens are not a cake walk, but I cant speak personally about other pathogens.
Mark, I believe I have been as fair as possible when presenting the facts about Chris illness. I have come to my own conclusion (with much given thought) about what caused Chris to become ill and this is where you and I disagree. I understand why you disagreethere are no hard facts and you have a dairy to protect. What I would appreciate from you is honest facts. Why do you keep saying Chris had Shigella when a bacteria was never isolated? Do you have some information Im not privy to? Please clarify why you keep saying he had Shigella?
This quote is taken from Ron Schmids book, The Untold Story of Raw Milk . He is discussing the Salmonella outbreak involving Alta Dena Dairy in the early 1980s that ended the dairys sale of raw milk in the State of California.
The dairy did its best to produce a large volume of raw milk for the people of California, but it was not a pasture-based dairy. Mistakes were undoubtedly occasionally made, and milk may have occasionally been contaminated with Salmonella or other pathogens. Since the State Health Department reports cannot be trusted, it is impossible to know how often that may have occurred. But to expect or demand perfection from any dairy would be ludicrous, and any raw food may on occasion carry pathogenic organisms that may precipitate illness in susceptible individuals. The point is that people need and have a right to choose carefully produced raw dairy products despite the fact that contamination may occasionally occur. The proper role of the public health authorities is to help producers make the best possible products and ensure that any contamination is minimal, and then to take proper steps to protect the public when and if contamination occurs. For proponents of raw milk to claim that problems never occur is to avoid reality and play into the hands of bureaucrats who would seize upon rare and isolated problems as an excuse to condemn all raw milk.
In the 1980s, I consumed raw milk products until the Salmonella outbreak. I was very disappointed when I could no longer purchase raw milk in California. Fast forward 20 something years, sometime in the Spring of 2006 our local health food store began carrying Organic Pastures raw milk and raw milk products. I was surprised and excited to see that raw milk products were available in California again.
Every morning my sons nose would be clogged up. I was convinced it was due to drinking pasteurized milk. Looking at the raw milk sitting on the self and reading the OP signs hanging on the windows as you walk in the store advertising relief from allergies, etc if you use this milk, I began contemplating a switch to OP raw milk. However, I didnt do it right away. The Alta Dena Dairy Salmonella outbreak was always in the back of my mind. I kept thinking, what if I gave this milk to Chris and he became ill from a pathogen. I did this metal dance for about 3 months. Id pick the milk up off the shelf and then put it back thinking I probably shouldnt take the risk.
Someone told me about Joe Mercolas website and he is totally pro raw milk. I went to OPs website and read all their information. Mark McAfee tests every bottle. I finally felt safe enough to try it. Chris started drinking raw milk sometime in mid August. Three weeks later he was in the emergency room with blood coming out of his rectum. After 5 days of severe, painful diarrhea and vomiting (non stop every 15 or 20 minutes), he was diagnosed with HUS. Three days later he was in complete renal failure.
I blamed myself for my sons illness because I went against my intuition and gave him raw milk despite the fact I knew there could be a health risk. To quote Ron Schmid, But to expect or demand perfection from any dairy would be ludicrous, and any raw food may on occasion carry pathogenic organisms that may precipitate illness in susceptible individuals.
This quote should be on every bottle of raw milk.
I'm very curious....is this Mark McAfee responding to my posts. You're sound a bit invested in this dairy.
First, the milk I had was never tested. The state wouldn't test it because the pathogen that caused Chris to become ill was never isolated in Chris' poop. So it is not true that they didn't find a pathogen in the milk. They didn't find anything because it wasn't tested.
2nd, Patrick, who works for the State of Califorina and was in charge of investigating OP dairy, told me that they found e-coli in one of the milking cows (not the same blueprint as the kids who all became ill and who also drank raw milk)and two dry herd cows. They checked all the cows two months after the kids became ill. So theoretically, a cow could have shed e-coil in OP milk.
3rd, whoever this is responding to my comments, I hope you never have a child become ill from a pathogen while they happen to also be drinking raw milk. The experience was not plesant and no one is pro-raw milk in our hosptial system.
4th, I don't need a counselor. I'm sorry you are not comfortable with my honest feelings about my horrific experience with my child. Making a comment like this is hitting below the belt and shows that somehow I've threatened you.
5th, I had a mother call me after she read about our story in an LA time magazine. She left a message on my voice mail at work (the article mentioned where I worked). She wanted to share with me that her children became ill with e-coli in the summer of 2005 after drinking OP milk.
6th, We'll see what this summer brings. Cows shed their e-coli in the Spring and Summer.
I would like to clarify something about the diagnosis of Shigella. We spent about 8 days within the Kaiser system before being sent to Loma Linda University Childrens Hospitalan extremely respected teaching hospital. The diagnosis of Shigella came from the doctors at Kaiser. They did NOT isolate the Shigella bacteria. This was a guess on their part probably based on Chris presenting symptomshe experienced rectal prolapse and a sigmoidoscopy revealed ulcerative colitis. These are both typically symptoms of Shigella, but it does not mean you couldnt experience these symptoms with e-coli. Both of these bacteria can cause Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).
There are many strains of both e-coli and Shigella. E-coli 0157:H7 and Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (this type of Shigella is extremely rare in the United States)
can develop into HUS. They both produce the Shiga toxin that causes the damage on the kidneys, pancreas and brain.
We had 3 nephrologists at Loma Linda. Not one of these doctors thought he had Shigella. The pediatric intensive care doctors also concurred. All the medical professionals at LLUMC believed he had e-coli.
Once I came home, I wanted to somehow prove he had Shigella, however, after all of my research I could only come to one conclusionChris became ill from e-coli contamination.
I would also like to clarify that it is very rare to become ill from e-coli contamination in raw milk. Campylobacter seems to be the most common cause of raw milk contamination, with the second runner up being Salmonella.
Ive analyzed all the CDC data on raw milk outbreaks (all types of bacteria contamination) that have been documented since 1973. If you include the OP case, in 34 years there have been 3 documented e-coli outbreaks due to raw milk, affecting 28 people. The 1995 Washington outbreak alone (e-coil was found in the milk and milking parlor) contaminated 18 people.
I have no vendetta again Organic Pastures dairy and I dont believe e-coli contamination is the # 1 concern when drinking raw milk. Im not even trying to prove OP milk made our son sick. There is a bigger message with our story. Our experience educated us about the vulnerability we all have regarding e-coli contamination. Our food supply is a constant e-coli disaster waiting to happen. Large scale e-coli contamination will continue in the US.
If you or any family member ever becomes contaminated with this pathogen make sure you are NEVER given antibiotics. Antibiotics for e-coli 0157:H7 is like pouring gasoline on a fire; it multiples the die off process of the Shiga toxin which can lead to HUS. A week of severe, painful diarrhea and vomiting is no big deal compared to renal failure caused by HUS. Our son is in an at risk category for kidney disease for the rest of his life. If his kidneys begin to fail, it means someday he could need a kidney transplant.
Ive given so much thought to how and why Chris became ill last summer. He became ill from something that was contaminated with unidentified bacteria that almost killed him.
Im being fair in my presentation of the facts. Unfortunately, Chris was the only child who became ill during this time period, who also drank raw milk, but the bacteria was never isolated. The other 3 children involved all drank raw milk and all tested positive for the same blueprint of e-coli this means it came from the same source.
My child has a very strict diet. I treat him naturally for ADD. We dont eat fast food and all his food is purchased at our local health food store where most produce comes from local farms. It was very easy for me to isolate what he ate. During the time frame when he became ill, he had raw milk, spinach and a new type of lettuce. During the first few weeks of Chris two month stay in the hospital, there was an e-coli outbreak for raw milk, spinach and lettuce. I had all three of these foods in the refrigerator at home. The FDA contacted me. They wanted to test the food. I gave them the three foods. And guess what, they didnt test them because the bacteria in Chris poop was never isolated..talk about bad luck. They told me his case wasnt a high enough priority. They were bombarded with people who tested positive for the spinach e-coli. Chris did not eat packaged Dole spinach, so the spinach was ruled out.
Believe me, I wanted it to be the spinach. I wanted him to have Shigella, not e-coli. Do you have any idea what it is like to watch you child hooked up to a ventilator, with his hands tied to the bed for 9 days and the only person you have to blame is yourself. I made the choice to give him raw milk knowing there was a risk. I have to live with this decision the rest of my life.
It would have been very easy for me to have come to the conclusion it was the spinach.Id be emotionally off the hook. Or to say, we really dont know if he had e-coli, so it could have been Shigella. Ive read hours of documents on both e-coli and Shigella. Ive made the list, one column for all the symptoms of e-coli and one for Shigella. In all honesty, he did present with Shigella more than e-coli and he was originally diagnosed with Shigella. I have analyzed this information so much, it has tormented me. If I only knew for sure what bacteria did this damage to my child?
In all the objectivity that I have in my soul, Ive come to the conclusion it was the raw milk. What are the chances that my child, who also drank the raw milk, who became ill in the exact same time frame, who mimicked identically the symptoms of the 10 year old girl who was in the same hospital as Chris had something different. She tested positive for e-coli. The 2 kids were about 12 hours apart in their symptoms. The kids even peed for the first time, on the same day after they had both experience complete renal failure. What are the chances that she had e-coli and Chris had Shigella? And what would my son get Shigella from? We were in two different hospitals and had four different nephrologists working on our sons case. 3 of the 4 doctors had practiced for 20 or more years and none of them had never treated a case of HUS that had developed from Shigella. This is usually seen in 3rd world countries.
Also, the 3 children that tested positive with the same blueprint of e-coli all lived in different counties within California. What else could they have eaten that got them sick? Can anyone come up with a food it could have been other than the raw milk?
These are the reasons Ive come to the conclusion that it was the raw milk. I told Mark McAfee to his face when he came to the hospital that I hoped it wasnt his milk. Im not anti-raw milk. Im one of you. Im not trying to convince anyone not to drink raw milk. Im just sharing my story.
Anyone interested in reading the account of our entire story can read it on David Gumpert's website www.thecompletepatient.com Scroll down on the left and when you reach SEARCH type in Memoir of a Raw Milk Illness Turned Medical Nightmare Part 1. Part 1 and Part 2 of our son's story can be read.
E-coli contamination in our food supply is serious business. E-coli contamination from raw milk is rare, but not so for our leafy vegetables (especially prepackaged) and our beef supply. Unfortunately, these outbreaks will contunue to occur.
Ive given so much thought to how and why Chris became ill last summer. He became ill from something that was contaminated with unidentified bacteria that almost killed him. Ive come to my own conclusion that the something was probably raw milk and the unidentified bacteria were most likely e-coli.
Chris is adopted and therefore had to drink formula for the first year of his life. He missed out on all the good nutrition breast milk has to offer; especially omega 3s and natural probiotics. Chris never had his system inundated with good bacteria. Even though hes only had one round of antibiotics in his life, this was not good for his already depleted system.
Chris also inherited his birth fathers ADD without hyperactivity. Even though Chris has always had a healthy diet (organic foods, no processed sugar, etc), hes a picky eater (part of the ADD) and a carb freak (part of the ADD). Its only been in the last few years that we are able to get him to eat some foods with high protein.
What happens when you give raw milk to a child for the first time in the summer months when e-coli contamination is at its peak (cows shed e-coli in the spring and summer months) whose intestinal track is deplete in healthy bacteria (good bacteria helps to fight off bad bacteria) and whose diet is high in carbohydrates (e-coli multiplies on grains)? This is the formula for one very sick child!
If I had only known this equation before I decided to give him raw milk to drink. Im not blaming myself. I was just completely ignorant. Pro raw milk articles dont mention how important it is to have a healthy immune system before drinking raw milk (just in case it is contaminated with bad bacteria). In fact, many people begin drinking raw milk because they are suffering from some health challenge.
I would like to see a campaign promoting the to dos before drinking raw milk. It is a fact that people can become ill from contaminated raw milk. The numbers are not large enough to warrant never drinking raw milk, but contamination is something that can happen. People choosing to drink raw milk need to be informed of how important it is to have a healthy digestive track and immune system before consuming this food.
Maybe first time raw milk drinkers need to take probiotics for a period of time before they begin drinking raw milk. This would help inundate a persons digestive track with good bacteria. Also first time raw milk drinkers should start drinking raw milk in the winter time when bacteria counts are at their lowest because of cold weather. If youre going to choose to drink raw milk, just some ideas to think about.
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