Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

CDC Investigating Multistate Human Infections Linked to Puppies from Petland

CDC Investigating Multistate Human Infections Linked to Puppies from Petland

Nine people have been hospitalized so far but no deaths have been reported. The infection has allegedly stemmed from a national pet store chain that sold sick puppies to customers.

As of Monday, a total of 39 people have fallen ill in seven states, including 11 cases in Florida, five in Kansas, one in Missouri, 18 in OH, two in Pennsylvania, one in Tennessee and one in Wisconsin. "Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and has strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians", Petland officials said in the statement.

Petland is responding to reports of an outbreak of Campylobacter being linked to puppies sold at their stores. Of the total, 27 either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland. Finally, you need to contact your veterinarian if you see signs of illness in your puppy or dog.

The investigation is ongoing, according to the CDC, which is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Inspection Service and several health departments. Shelley Rankin, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, says that the biggest risk factor is that they're puppies.

According to CDC, campylobacteriosis is a common infection among humans. Most infections are singular and not part of an outbreak. About 47 percent of raw chicken samples tested in 2011 were positive for Campylobacter, according to the CDC.

Campylobacter can cause diarrhea, vomiting and fever in dogs, but symptoms aren't always apparent or obvious. The symptoms typically appear two to five days after the contact with bacteria and can last around a week.

Thus far, 39 individuals spanning 7 states have confirmed Campylobacter infections or are experiencing symptoms consistent with infection, such as diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain, and fever. The CDC estimates that annually, Campylobacter impacts 1.3 million people.

The owner of the Topeka Petland, Stacy Williams, told 13 NEWS their store has not been affected by the outbreak. That's why washing your hands after cleaning up after your pet is so important. Though for any dog lover, washing your hands every time you pet them seems unrealistic.

But the agency urged potential adopters to 'pick a puppy or dog that is bright, alert, and playful, ' and to have a vet make sure the new family member has a clean bill of health.

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