Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Outbreak of human Campylobacter linked to pet store puppies

Outbreak of human Campylobacter linked to pet store puppies

The other 27 people either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland store, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a class action lawsuit against Petland in July on the grounds that the chain defrauded customers by "guaranteeing" puppies that were prone to illnesses and other defects, according to a Washington Post report.

CDC spokeswoman Brittany Behm said public health officials are not certain how common Campylobacter is in animals.

The federal health agency also noted the cases had been reported since September 2016 in seven states: Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Those most at risk include people with weakened immune systems, young children, the elderly and pregnant women.

Petland also issued a statement on Monday, stressing that the CDC itself says that "regardless of where they are from, any puppy and dog may carry Campylobacter germs".

All of the illnesses occurred within the past year, and the most recent illness was reported on September 1, 2017.

Ill people range in age from 1 year to 64 years, with a median age of 22 years; 28 (72%) are female; and 9 (23%) report being hospitalized.

Campylobacter wasn't one of the conditions the group reported, but advocates said the conditions the dogs were kept in are possible disease vectors. The CDC advised getting new puppies a checkup within a week of adoption or purchase.

Kunzelman added that Petland has many sanitation stations in each store and has strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians.

This is a common cause of diarrhea in the United States, she said.

Most people become infected with campylobacteriosis through eating raw or undercooked poultry.

The U.S. agency recommends that people wash their hands thoroughly after touching dogs, their poop, or their food. Most infections are singular and not part of an outbreak. Finally, you need to contact your veterinarian if you see signs of illness in your puppy or dog. Patients typically develop symptoms within two to five days of exposure and may suffer from diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

If your puppy or dog is showing signs of the disease (the symptoms are usually the same as in humans), contact your vet and take it for a check-up.

Pick up and dispose of dog poop, especially in areas where children might play.

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