Consumers of Raw Milk in Missoula, MT at Risk of Q Fever


Health authorities in Missoula, MT. are warning consumers to refrain from drinking raw milk sold at farmers’ markets due to the risk of Q fever (Coxiella burnetii).  The warning arises from a diagnosis in a cow in a herd maintained by a raw milk supplier.  Q fever produces an influenza-like syndrome with chronic muscle aches, weight loss and in some cases respiratory symptoms.


According to Food Safety News a previous outbreak of salmonellosis in Montana involving 100 diagnosed cases was linked to consumption of unpasteurized milk.  This outbreak resulted in restrictions on sale of raw milk resulting in a sharp decline in milk-borne infections including diarrheal illnesses in infants and children.


Recently, legislators in states including Montana have eased restrictions on the sale of raw milk based on the concept of “freedom”. Unpasteurized milk, a relic of the 19th century is associated with salmonellosis, listeriosis, campylobacteriosis, brucellosis, tuberculosis and STEC infection. All these pathogens are destroyed by pasteurization.