The Knox County Health Department and the East Tennessee Regional Office have issued an alert, advising people not to consume raw milk or dairy products from McBee Dairy Farm in Mascot due to possible E. coli infection.

Consumers are also advised to dispose of any raw milk or dairy products they may currently have from the farm.

The two agencies began investigating last week a cluster of illnesses associated with raw milk consumption. Since that time, additional cases have been identified. Three have confirmed E. coli 0157 infection.

Health department director Dr. Martha Buchanan says the cases turned up after working through the weekend to contact other people who may have been exposed to the raw milk.

The health department's first batch of test results from McBee Dairy Farm have come back negative for E. coli bacteria. Results from a more recent round of tests have not yet come in.

The health department says agriculture department officials will work with the farm to educate them on the risks and proper handling of raw milk.

McBee Dairy Farm says it has not heard anything from the health department since last Thursday.

Health officials say raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products can contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, that can cause severe diarrhea and life threatening complications.