Thus far, 39 individuals spanning 7 states have confirmed Campylobacter infections or are experiencing symptoms consistent with infection, such as diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain, and fever.
The pet store chain says they are working with the Center for Disease Control to identify any link between their pets and the outbreak, which in addition to Kansas, has spread to Missouri, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Campylobacter is the most common illness that humans contract from both dogs and cats, according to the CDC. Due to this, CDC estimates that more than 1.3 million Americans acquire the infection every year. CDC have recorded nine hospitalizations and no deaths from the outbreak.
Epidemiologic and laboratory findings have linked the outbreak to contact with puppies sold through Petland stores.
Of the 39 people with confirmed Campylobacter infections, 12 worked at Petland. "Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and has strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians", Petland officials said in the statement. Severe infections could result to fatal complications that may either cause paralysis or death.
The CDC noted that no matter where a puppy comes from, it may carry a campylobacter infection. The good news is that most people get well on their own. Petland is cooperating with the investigation, the government agency said.
On the other hand, the CDC investigated and found no health breach at Petland that would cause such an outbreak. "The health and wellbeing of our pets, staff and customers is Petland's utmost priority and concern".
The CDC has advised pet owners to take particular care to clean up after their dogs and wash their hands thoroughly. 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". Rankin says that she's seen many outbreak investigations, and it can be hard to pin down the exact cause.
Can your new puppy make you sick?
While puppies and dogs with a campylobacter infection might have diarrhea, vomiting or a fever, just like humans, they also sometimes show no signs of illness. Pick up and dispose dog poop carefully, especially in areas where children might play.
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