The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released data on their investigation of a 12-state outbreak of the human Campylobacter bacteria. This infection has been, unfortunately, linked to puppies sold through the national pet store chain, Petland.
According to CDC veterinarian Dr. Mark Laughlin, “We know that Campylobacter is common in dogs, that’s not new to us. But an outbreak of human illnesses due to contact with dogs is quite unique.”
Furthermore, the CDC reports that 55 people have confirmed either symptoms or infections of the bacteria, across Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Laughlin also goes so far as to report that the germ which causes Campylobacter infections is commonly carried by dogs. The infection, then, can be transferred to humans by touch or when you feed or clean up after your pet.
He also notes, “These infections are all related based on their DNA, based on the DNA of the bacteria, tells us they’re likely from the same place.”
The CDC has also reported that 14 of the confirmed cases were in Petland employees across five of the listed states. 35 other cases were among people who had purchased a puppy recently, or visited either a store or someone who had recently purchased a puppy from a Petland store.
In a statement, the company has said: “Petland has been able to provide traceback for any puppy purchased as requested by the CDC, thus making sense for CDC and Petland to work together to conduct testing. However, more than 98% of people obtain their puppies from other sources, including shelters, rescues, friends, online and through local advertising. Petland is therefore pleased that the CDC is expanding its investigation.”
The statement continues, “The CDC has no new recommendations for Petland but continues to advise that Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and continues to follow Petland’s strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians.”
Fortunately, no deaths have been reported in relation to this outbreak. Still, symptoms of infection can include: [bloody] diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, vomiting, nausea. Symptoms can be severe—particularly in children, elderly, or those with previously compromised or weaker immune systems—but typically pass within a week.