Raw milk blamed for toddler's death
Unpasteurised milk is likely to have caused the death of a 3-year old Victorian boy, a coroner’s court has heard.
The child’s father told the court on Monday he had given his son small amounts of Mountain View Organic Bath Milk on rare occasions in the months leading to his October 2014 death.
The Herald Sun reports that a Department of Health investigation, a forensic pathologist’s report and a subsequent outbreak of illnesses among 4 other children who drank the raw milk had all established its consumption as being the likely cause of death.
Coroner Audrey Jamieson on Monday said she was satisfied issues that would have warranted a full hearing into the death had already been dealt with and she could make a determination on the balance of probabilities.
Coroner’s solicitor Rebecca Cohen told the court the 3-year-old had been a healthy child until suffering haemorrhagic colitis on September 30, 2014, and being admitted to Frankston Hospital 4 days later. He was transferred to Monash Medical Centre on October 6, where it was found his entire large bowel was infected. The boy died a short time later.
The court heard that an autopsy was consistent with tests taken during the toddler’s medical treatment, finding the same genetic traces in his bowel that led to haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a rare condition stemming from E. coli bacteria which can be present in raw milk.
An investigation said that while HUS infections were usually an “exceptionally rare occurrence” it was dealing with 2 non-fatal cases at the same time as the death and all 3 children had consumed the same unpasteurised milk.
Two cases of cryptosporidium also reported among young raw milk drinkers in the same area within 10 days of the two HUS cases reinforced the pathology evidence, Ms Cohen said.