Campylobacter Puppies Linked to Outbreak Traced to Petland

People Picking Up Infection From Pet Store Puppies Poop CDC

The CDC is investigating an outbreak of a bacterial infection linked to puppies sold through the national pet store chain Petland. Petland is cooperating with the investigation, the government agency said.

The bacteria, a common cause of diarrheal illness that can spread through contact with dog feces, has sickened at least 39 people in Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Florida. Most of the cases were in Florida and Ohio, Newsweek reported.

Regardless of where they are from, any puppies and dogs may carry Campylobacter germs.

"Evidence suggests that puppies sold through Petland are a likely source of this outbreak", the US agency said in a statement. The illnesses were first reported about a year ago. Contact tracing in the seven affected states found that each illness involved the same strain of the bacteria.

In an interview, Matthew Liebman, director of litigation for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said, "It's not hard to see how animals raised in these cramped and unsanitary conditions, trucked hundreds of miles from puppy mills to the pet stores, intermingled with other fragile young animals and handled by numerous employees and customers could become disease vectors". Along with the 18 cases in OH, the CDC reports 11 cases were found in Florida, 5 in Kansas, 2 in Pennsylvania, and one case each in Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Between September 15, 2016, and Sept. 1, 2017, twelve Petland employees in four states were infected as well as 27 people who purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a retail location, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland.

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. Petland is also collaborating with the CDC in the investigation.

Campylobacter is a bacteria that can spread through contact with dog feces. Symptoms appear within two to five days and include diarrhea, nausea, intestinal cramping and vomiting.

Most cases are isolated, and not as part of an outbreak, says the CDC. More than 200 cities and counties have enacted laws that ban pet shops from selling puppies from so-called puppy mill.

According to the U.S. CDC, campylobacter is a disease that people can get from puppies and dogs.

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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