Pet Store Illnesses Spread /Antibiotic Resistant — CDC

Pet Store Illnesses Spread /Antibiotic Resistant — CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says dozens of people have been sickened with infections linked to puppies sold at Petland pet stores.

The bacteria causes diarrhea, cramping, fever and abdominal pain, the health agency said on its website, and is generally treatable with antibiotics, if needed, but this case is different.

This is a common cause of diarrhea in the United States, she said. The notice from the CDC also notes that this strain is resistant to some antibiotics, as is the case with other Campylobacter strains. Most people with the infection begin showing symptoms two to five days after being exposed to the bacteria and could continue their symptoms for about a week.

Cute, yes, but touching them might send you to the hospital.

The number of hospitalizations tied to the infection had also jumped from nine to 13, and it's proving hard to treat.

Numerous people sickened in this outbreak were Petland employees, while others had either bought a Petland puppy, shopped at Petland or visited someone who had purchased a puppy from Petland, the CDC said. 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. In rare cases, an infection can lead to complications, including paralysis and even death.

People sickened in the current outbreak range in age from younger than one year to 86 years old.

35 people either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began. Fourteen are Petland employees from five states. One person had sexual contact with a person with a confirmed illness linked to Petland.

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According to an alert issued by the CDC on October 3, 55 people have confirmed infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection. According to the CDC's own report released today, "regardless of where they are from, any puppies and dogs may carry Campylobacter germs".

The outbreak of Campylobacter has affected 55 people in 12 states.

"Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that puppies sold through Petland stores are a likely source of this outbreak", the CDC said.

Campylobacter can spread to humans through contact with the feces of infected dogs. Symptoms typically include diarrhea (often bloody), fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting and typically last a week.

To avoid contamination from your pet, the CDC recommends that you wash your hands thoroughly after touching dogs, their poop or their food. Wash hands after touching dogs & dog poop.

Pick a puppy or dog that is bright, alert, and playful. Finally, contact your veterinarian if you see signs of illness in your puppy or dog.

Dr. Kristen Mertz, a medical epidemiologist for the Allegheny County Health Department in Pennsylvania, where two cases have been reported, said in a written statement when the outbreak first emerged in September: "This is not something new in our region".

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