Petland urges safety when handling dogs amid outbreak of infections

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that puppies sold through Petland stores are a likely source of this outbreak according to the CDC

As of September 11, the agency noticed the signs of a campylobacter outbreak as 39 people reported such symptoms. Al of the cases are linked to puppies sold through the retail chain 'Petland.' Patients are either Petland employees or customers who recently visited a Petland or bought a puppy there. So far, there are 39 laboratory-confirmed cases of the infections in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The illnesses started from September 15, 2016 to August 12, 2017, with the most recent illness reported on September 1, 2017.

The CDC noted that no matter where a puppy comes from, it may carry a campylobacter infection.

Of the 39 people with confirmed Campylobacter infections, 12 worked at Petland.

People with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and people with cancer or other severe illnesses, are most at risk for a serious infection. Overall, campylobacteriosis - which occurs much more frequently in the summer months than in the winter - is estimated to affect over 1.3 million persons every year.

The owner of the Topeka Petland, Stacy Williams, told 13 NEWS their store has not been affected by the outbreak.

Petland is cooperating with the CDC's investigation and stresses the importance of using hand sanitizer before and after handling one of their puppies.

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.

"Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously", the statement said.

The human Campylobacter infection can commonly be acquired through the consumption of raw or undercooked poultry. Rankin says that she's seen many outbreak investigations, and it can be hard to pin down the exact cause. Previous outbreaks of Campylobacter infection were linked to contaminated water, poultry, produce and unpasteurized dairy products.

Dozens of people in several states have gotten sick from a bacteria they got from puppies. In a statement, the company writes, "The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any Campylobacter infection".

The CDC has advised pet owners to take particular care to clean up after their dogs and wash their hands thoroughly. Finally, you need to contact your veterinarian if you see signs of illness in your puppy or dog.

Humans don't typically spread the bacteria to each other, but it is possible to be exposed through dog feces.

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