Puppies Are 'Likely Source' of Outbreak that Has Sickened Dozens in US

Bacterial Outbreak in 7 States Linked to Puppies From Pet Store Chain CDC Says

Bacterial Outbreak in 7 States Linked to Puppies From Pet Store Chain CDC Says

A multi-state outbreak of human Campylobacter infections that has sickened at least 39 has been linked to puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain.

Of the persons affected by the illness, 12 are Petland employees, but 27 recently purchased a puppy from Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began.

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

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"The ill people are from seven states (Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin)", the CDC said.

Campylobacter is a bacteria that causes people to develop diarrhea (sometimes bloody), cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days of exposure to the organism, said Dr. Sophia Jan, director of general pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y. People with weakened immune systems can have more severe illnesses.

There have been 39 reports of people getting sick, nine of them hospitalized, likely from puppies sold at Petland stores. Pet owners are instructed to choose a puppy that is alert, playful and has shiny or soft fur. The disease does not usually spread from person to person, the CDC said.

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"The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any campylobacter infection", Elizabeth Kunzelman, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an email.

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

The CDC recommends that everyone wash their hands thoroughly after touching any dogs, their poop, or their food. "Take extra care that children playing with the puppies also wash their hands carefully", the CDC advised. Infected puppies may have no symptoms or diarrhea, vomiting, or fever. Always pick up and throw out dog poop.

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Contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your puppy or dog. Signs of illness in dogs include sluggishness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abnormal breathing, according to the CDC.

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