320 – TBE can pass thru food

In Austria, Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) has been found to pass through the food supply.  The Austrian study shows that infected dairy foods can indeed infect humans.  No incidences have been found in the US, though with Lyme on the rise, we should all be wary.

Trying to avoid panic, the CDC would like us to believe that it only happens in Alpine regions and at an altitude of 1500 meters.  They once insisted that Lyme disease was only in the NE and in areas where deer reside. 

CDC Abstract
We report transmission of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in July 2008 through nonpasteurized goat milk to 6 humans and 4 domestic pigs in an alpine pasture 1,500 m above sea level. This outbreak indicates the emergence of ticks and TBEV at increasing altitudes in central Europe and the efficiency of oral transmission of TBEV.

The Study  

We investigated a TBE outbreak, comprising 6 cases, in a mountain region in western Austria in July 2008. The index case occurred in a 43-year-old shepherd who had stayed for 24 days at his alpine pasture (1,564 m above sea level) before he was hospitalized for nonbacterial urethritis and nonspecific influenza-like symptoms (including pain in the lower abdomen and legs), followed by clinical signs of meningitis. TBEV infection was confirmed serologically by ELISA demonstration of specific immunoglobulin (Ig) M and IgG in serum and cerebrospinal fluid. The patient did not remember a tick bite but had eaten self-made cheese prepared from a mixture of nonpasteurized goat milk and cow milk 8–11 days before illness onset; further investigation found 6 additional persons who had eaten the same cheese (Figure). For 5 of them, recent TBEV infection was serologically proven (Table). For 3 of these persons (2 men, 44 and 65 years of age; and 1 woman, 60 years of age), similar to the index patient, a typical biphasic course and symptoms of TBE (nonspecific flu-like symptoms followed by fever, cephalea, meningism, and ataxia after 4–10 days) developed and they were hospitalized. The 2 other persons who had eaten the cheese (female, 37 and 7 years of age) were clinically asymptomatic. The noninfected person had vomited shortly after eating the cheese because of a gastric banding. None of the infected persons had been vaccinated against TBEV. 

The cheese was prepared from a mixture of fresh milk from 1 goat and 3 cows and was eaten shortly after production. Detection of TBEV-specific hemagglutination inhibiting (HI) and neutralizing antibodies in the goat’s serum proved infection in the goat; the 3 cows were seronegative for TBEV. At the time of this investigation (1 month after cheese production), TBEV was already undetectable by PCR in serum and milk of the goat. Cheese from the 3 batches produced after the contaminated batch was TBEV negative by PCR. The original cheese was no longer available for testing. 

The 4 domestic pigs kept at the alpine pasture and fed with the whey and goat milk, however, were seropositive (TBEV HI- and neutralizing antibodies detected), which indicated TBEV infection, but no clinical signs were observed. Infection with TBEV has been reported in wild boars (4,5). Serum samples from 105 goats from pastures in the neighborhood also were investigated for TBEV-specific antibodies; all goats were seronegative. 


Our analyses showed that the 6 humans and the 4 pigs were infected through the milk of 1 goat, which had been transported by car from a TBE–nonendemic valley to the alp 12 days before production of the TBEV-contaminated cheese. Experiments have demonstrated that infected domestic animals (i.e., goats, sheep, and cows) can excrete TBEV into milk for ≈3–7 days, beginning as early as the second or third day postinfection (6–9). In addition, although cheese was produced once or twice each week, only this ≈1-kg batch of cheese transmitted TBEV. Therefore, all the evidence indicates that the goat was infected at the alpine pasture at an altitude of 1,564 m. Indeed, some ticks were collected from cows that had stayed at this altitude during the entire summer. Analyses of these ticks for TBEV by PCR, however, yielded only negative results. 

Our findings provide further evidence for the expansion of TBEV-endemic regions to higher altitudes in central Europe. For example, longitudinal studies in the Czech Republic, a country with similar climatic and ecologic conditions to those of Austria, showed a shift in Ixodes ricinus ticks and TBEV, from 700 m in 1981–1983 to 1,100 m altitude in 2001–2005 (10,11). Likewise, Zeman and Benes demonstrated that the maximum altitude at which TBEV is found in the Czech Republic gradually moved upward during 1970–2000, corresponding to the rise in temperature during the same period (12). In Scandinavia, a northward extension of the geographic range of I. ricinus ticks and TBEV since the mid-1980s has also been recognized (1,13–15). Climatic changes most likely are the major driving forces for the geographic changes in the distribution of TBEV and its main vector, I. ricinus, in Europe. 

This report also emphasizes the efficiency of oral transmission of TBEV to humans and to pigs. Six of the 7 persons who ate the cheese and all 4 pigs fed residual milk or whey from the same cheese became infected. Given the excellent effectiveness of the TBE vaccine (2), vaccination probably could have prevented all 6 human cases.


17 Responses to “320 – TBE can pass thru food”

  1. Encephalitis is a VIRUS which like many other viruses, can be foodborne–so far the TBI’s including LYME, a spirochete that has REQUIREMENTS to live and cannot live or be TRANSMITTED by food; Babesia, a protozoa that not only cant live in food but needs LIVING RBC’s; Ehrlichia a rickettsial BACTERIA that also has very specific requirements to live and transmit..
    SO unnecessarily alarming others and passing along very WRONG information is not IMO educational and frankly irresponsible!!
    so as much as I despise the CDC they are in fact CORRECT

    • Had we been told the truth from the beginning, many of us would not be sick. Alarming people may be excessive, but hiding the facts, is deadly.

      Like AIDS, we are being told the realities much too late. Until ALL the truth is known, it is much better to be overly cautious.

      For whatever bacteria strains are being contracted, I know a number of people getting seriously sick from Sand Flies, Ticks, etc. Why are people only being warned about Deer ticks.

      Whose being irresponsible?

    • Fin24,

      It is also known that Lyme can be passed down to children through a mother’s breast milk. So, it would be logical that goats, cows, etc., could pass pathogens down as well through unpasteurized foods. Again, this possibility is not widely discussed, but taking caution is advised.


  2. May I ask–WHO are the editors, moderators, authors of this site?
    It helps to know and understand the authors when examining the validity of the content—Id hate to assume or presume something wrongly. After all, the veteran advocates such as myself,and advocacy groups may wish to promote this site OR inform others if it is not trustworthy for solid info!!
    if you like you can email instead finrussak@aol.com , thanks!!

    • Fin24,

      This site is solely managed by myself. I represent a large contingent of chronic patients in the New England area.

      Unless the posting is prefixed with “Commentary”, the integrity of the posting is kept in tact and the original links provided.

      You can get more insight on me from the “Blog Master” page.

      All the best,

  3. ummm Rob, first its not “known” or proven that breast milk transmits Lyme–all so far “known” is that the spirochetes are present and RARELY at that. Not to delve too deeply into the bio-epidemiology…presence doesnt mean “ABLE TO BE TRANSMITTED” and even transmission doesnt prove “able to cause disease in previously uninfected subjects”; and since nursing Moms have recently been pregnant with those infants I’d bet my years in developmental biology that prenatal/gestational is the path of those babies’ infection!!

    and to then leap into food/milk animal-human transmission???too large a chasm IMO

    are you aware it has been shown repeatedly that even if you take the spiro’s from the tick gut and INJECT into an animal the likelihood of infection is almost zero since the spiro’s need to go thru the salivary glands and become “activated”??

    again making your “theory” kinda weak. Besides most of us pasteurize milk and eat COOKED meat, again, survival of the organism??…well what more can you need to see this theory isnt holding water other than to alarm people without cause?

    and thank you very much for the hint to check blogmaster page, but this site is frankly very hard on the eyes …but,Ill try to find it 🙂

    • Regarding breast milkk…

      It’s always wise to be skeptical regarding info found on the web (including this site). But it is also wiser to be safer than sorry.

      The university of Vienna has done a number of tests regarding breast milk, and the pediatric guru of LD, Dr. Jones, suggests a number of his patients contracted Lyme in this manner.

      I’m sure you can find some studies that challenge these views, but like i said: better safe…

      The mother’s health can
      determine the health of the child,
      good or bad. Dr. Charles Ray
      Jones, a pediatric specialist on
      Lyme Disease, found 12 breast-fed
      children who developed LD.

      Dr. James Howenstine reported
      that studies at the University of
      Vienna found Bb in urine and
      breast milk of LD mothers.
      Researchers at the University of
      Wisconsin have reported that dairy
      cattle can be infected with Bb and
      therefore the milk can be

      Click to access endowmentupdatelymes2.pdf

    • ” Besides most of us pasteurize milk and eat COOKED meat, again, survival of the organism??…well what more can you need to see this theory isnt holding water other than to alarm people without cause?”

      I stated that the risk was with unpasteurized dairy foods. Mostly because that is what was reported in the U. of Vienna study.

      The intention of this site is to alert people of potential Lyme risks. Mostly because I think the general information on LD publicly available is limited and misleading.

      Had there been more information available 20 years ago, I might not be crippled with this disease today. Even if it meant being overly cautious.

      You seem to be concerned about the public being overly cautious. Why?

      A lot of what I preach that seems on the fringe, is becoming more mainstream. Possibly it’s coincidence, sometimes just logical. I have no vested interest other than just helping others. I wish there was someone out there who could have done the same for me 20 years ago.

      All the best,

    • “thank you very much for the hint to check blogmaster page, but this site is frankly very hard on the eyes …but,Ill try to find it ”

      Having developed systems for 30 years, I know that you’ll never satisfy everyone’s needs 100%.

      I’m sure you are aware, but you can alter your browsers Font Size using the Page menu (if you are using IE) and then alter the Text Size.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Im a techno challenged dinosaur and didnt understand anything you said re how to change browser–maybe Ill ask my son tomorrow fwiw I use google chrome

    Im not ‘concerned’ about or against the public being overly cautious or even educated–Im very concerned about misinformation, incomplete info etc–to see why please see comments under your story and elsewhere

    My son was a Dr Jones patient and Dr J and I spoke at length every visit so it is with 100% accuracy when I assure you his thoughts are that most if not all his breast milk kids were in fact gestationally infected with the possibility that continued exposure via breast milk either added to the infection to some “breaking point” and/or impeding their treatment..thats a big difference IMO and I havent heard him stop anyone from breastfeeding unless they were extremely Lyme active with a baby who was being treated and/or Mom taking meds known to pass thru milk. If the mother is in remission and/or the infant is non sx he like almost all sane peds will encourage breastfeeding for the immunity it imparts! That i,s last I spoke with him 3 yrs ago.This may have changed–I cant say.

    Im a BIG believer in warnings and preparation but not alarming–y’see with MY 20 plus yrs in Lyme education and advocacy Ive seen what alarms and half baked theories can do to the less informed among us ( not to mention the scammers preying upon this ignorance too) and its so tiring and time-wasteful to have to undo or clarify poor info…a pet peeve of mine I guess.

    Its most correct to mention that Spirochetes have been found in breast milk and in SOME places unpasteurized milks ( saying all dairy isnt right since most (?) cheeses et al are prepped with heat and/or enzymes that MAY render the organisms harmless) and that a discussion with knowledgeable Drs may be in order. NOT however to leap to the ” therefore its transmittable”

    the “better safe than sorry” doesnt always hold with diseases and epidemiology–heck if that were true Penicillin wouldnt have been used after the many first deaths from it 100 yrs ago.After all with the high allergy prevalence it would have indeed been better safe than sorry to start injecting Pen the way they did.

    with Disease/illness its better to think of risks vs benefits, and listing risks is what I personally have been fighting for and have been banned from sites for doing..But then taking those possible risks and attaching them to conclusions that arent well founded or worse??? Im not a fan of that frankly

    it makes for weak reliability IMO for anything else thats posted.

    Its not a matter of fringe–its a matter of making sure that its within the realm of reliable, vettable and not going against currently ccepted basics–like saying maybe throwing a rock into the sky will make it rain or worse, it wont come back down. Not good form IMO

    you are correct and I agree wholeheartedly that the censorship and information control in Lymeland is dismal and the source of much harm as well as preying by marketeers and scammers. FWIW while I have zero financial interests in Lyme and have never so much as charged a cent for the hours of help and lives Ive saved, hands held and phone calls into ERs; I DO have a vested interest of sorts–that the science be sound, the advice be reasonable and the information be complete and accurate.

    My loyalty so to speak is to accurate education/content

    I find it odd that you say “had there been more info 20 yrs ago…maybe youd not be so ill”
    and a bit time and energy wasting frankly–a bit like saying ” if they knew 50 yrs ago that HIV would cause AIDS” after all we dont have magic 8 balls or crystal balls and tarot just doesnt seem to help with issues that are medical.In my experience anyways 😉

    Im not too bothered by what was/wasnt known 20 yrs ago despite the fact that I was infected with Bartonella during that 1989 bite and for 10 yrs till late 1998 when they all in NJ started to realize thanks to MDL labs and my own LLMD that ticks do indeed transmit it…HOW could they have known?? I was among the first tested and found to have HUGE amounts of it in me explaining much of my damages.

    what bugs ME is that despite all we do know NOW it took till only 6 months ago to have me and my son tested for and come up pos for Babesia!! Now THAT ticks me off ( forgive the pun)

    ME with my 20 plus yrs of training and experience in Lyme–, me with almost 40 yrs experience as educator ( 30 of it in science), me being one of the most connected networked and involved ( and since my son is bedbound now 6 yrs since age 15).. and both my son and I werent ever TESTED in case the Babs was also there???

    so even I didnt think-the Drs didnt think–since the sx we both have are explainable by the other things we have ( TBI as well as comorbidants and familial stuff) so why look for more??

    but then again spilt milk sobbing wont help any of us…
    going forward making sure we get MORE valid and reliable info out there may then urge for more research etc


    • Excellent post.
      Thanks and good night.

      • Just one clarification on your response to the “Blog Master” page:

        I think you may have misunderstood me.
        “find it odd that you say “had there beenI more info 20 yrs ago…maybe youd not be so ill”

        Had this person shared his experiences with LD, then myself and others may have been more aware of the dangers rather than the plain vanilla informaton that was being said back then. I certainly did not imply that he should have known more than what was available, but he certainly could have explained his symptoms and some of the warning signs.


  5. I understand BUT then again, back then it was truly thought to be what the IDSA still claims it is–rare and hard to get, easy to catch as in diagnose before it wreaks havoc, and easy to treat and cure–so frankly most pts (including me back then) didnt think we were dealing with anything we had to go all out warning anyone about–it was around the time when inklings and a shift in paradigm was only starting

    I was part of the original LDA when it was only LDA-NJ and yet many in that group were only first gearing up–including Pat Smith and yet none of us fully grasped the real picture!!

    I still think that hindsight being what it is–expecting that person to have understood the dangers first and the need to fully inform you second was a lot to expect.

    Like I dont go around warning people about chicken pox–as far as I think of it–its a nuisance that only the very immune compromised need to be wary of and I also think the vaccine for it is a big fat money making scam by the Big Pharma Cartels

    thinking you need to explain symptoms/warnings requires one to grasp the importance of it all–in my opinion anyway

    maybe Im being too forgiving?? ( which would be ironic given my reputation as a Lyme Shark or the “Lyme Police” LOL)

  6. Who can contact me with a lyme’s literate doctor in the NY/CT area?

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