Local News

Goat cheese tested for listeria; warning issued to Rougemont farm visitors

Posted April 15, 2010 3:46 p.m. EDT

— State agriculture inspectors plan to test cheese from a Rougemont goat farm for listeria, and public health officials issued a rabies warning Wednesday for anyone who recently came into contact with a donkey at the farm.

The donkey at Elodie Farms died last week, and testing determined the animal had contracted rabies. A goat that was put down Saturday because of suspect behavior tested negative for the highly contagious virus.

Brian Long, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said tests determined the goat had listeriosis. The bacterial infection can be transmitted to humans through the animal's meat, milk or cheese.

Goat cheese made at Elodie Farms is pasteurized, which Long said should kill the listeria bacteria. Inspectors planned to test some cheese samples as a precaution, he said.

Meanwhile, another four goats at the farm remain under quarantine, and the rest of the herd is under observation for two weeks to ensure the rabies virus hasn't infected the herd.

Dr. Carl Williams, public health veterinarian for the state Division of Public health, urged anyone who visited Elodie Farms after March 10 and had contact with the donkey to consult with their physician or local health department to determine if they need to undergo rabies vaccination.

“The animal was capable of transmitting the virus even before it became visibly ill," Williams said in a statement.

Farm owner Dave Artigues stopped selling goat cheese last weekend because of rabies concerns, and Long said no cheese would be sold by the farm until the herd is no longer under observation.

Artigues also has stopped all visits to his farm until officials determine none of his farm animals have rabies.