Puppies from pet store chain sicken 39 people in 7 states

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a multistate outbreak of infections linked to contact with puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain with locations in Kansas.

The CDC said investigators are looking for the source of campylobacter infections in people and puppies so they can recommend how to stop the outbreak and prevent more illnesses.

As of Monday, the outbreak includes 39 cases in 7 states including Kansas, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Five cases have been reported in Kansas so far.

According to the CDC, illnesses began on Sept. 15, 2016. The most recent illness was reported on September 1, 2017.

Nine people have been hospitalized so far but no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory findings have linked the outbreak to contact with puppies sold through Petland stores. According to the CDC report, among the 39 ill people, 12 are Petland employees from 4 states and 27 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.

The Petland store in Topeka said the CDC has not contacted them and would contact them to test their puppies if it was there.

Petland released the following statement to KSNT News:

Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in the U.s., according to the CDC. Regardless of where they are from, ANY puppy and dog may carry Campylobacter germs. Out of 12 million visitors to Petland stores annually, Campylobacter was linked to 39 Petland customers. The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland’s operating system that would lead to any Campylobacter infection.

The CDC has not provided any details regarding which stores are linked or customer data. Therefore, we don’t know where those infected are from or what state they contracted it in. For example, although someone lives in Kansas, they may have been in Florida when they contracted it.

The CDC states “investigators are looking for the source” which means it has not been identified.

They also have not identified any failures of Petland’s operating system that would lead to any campylobacter infection.

To see the list of the number of cases by state CLICK HERE

The following information is provided by the CDC:

Know the symptoms of a Campylobacter infection and what to do if you have a serious infection:

  • Most people with a Campylobacter infection develop symptoms 2 to 5 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Symptoms usually last about a week. The following are typical symptoms:
    • Diarrhea (that is often bloody)
    • Fever
    • Stomach cramps
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
  • People more likely to get a severe infection include:
    • People with weakened immune systems (such as people with the genetic blood disorder thalassemia or HIV or people receiving chemotherapy)
    • Children younger than 5 years
    • Adults 65 years and older
    • Pregnant women

Follow these steps when choosing a puppy or dog:

  • Pick a puppy or dog that is bright, alert, and playful. Puppies and dogs should have shiny, soft fur that is free of poop (feces).
  • Take your new puppy or dog to the veterinarian for a health check-up within a few days to a week after adoption.
  • More information on choosing and caring for a puppy or dog is available here.

Follow these steps if your puppy or dog is ill:

  • Contact your veterinarian. Signs of illness include appearing sluggish, not eating, diarrhea, and abnormal breathing. Keep in mind that even a dog that appears healthy might spread germs to people and other animals.
  • If your puppy or dog becomes sick or dies soon after purchase or adoption, take it to the veterinarian promptly, and inform the pet store, breeder, or rescue organization about your dog’s illness or death.
  • Thoroughly clean the area occupied by your ill pet. If your puppy died, consider waiting at least a few weeks before purchasing or adopting another pet to reduce the chance of spreading disease to your new pet.

Follow these steps to prevent the spreading of disease between people and puppies and dogs:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with running water and soap for at least 20 seconds every time you touch dogs, their food, or clean up after them. Adults should supervise handwashing for young children.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Pick up and dispose of dog poop, especially in areas where children might play. Use disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • Clean up any pee (urine), poop (stool), or vomit in the house immediately, and disinfect the area. Use disposable gloves to handle anything that has touched pee, poop, or vomit, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian regularly to keep it healthy and to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Don’t let pets lick around your mouth and face.
  • Don’t let pets lick your open wound or areas with broken skin.

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