Pet Store Puppies Likely Source of Campylobacter Infections

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
The CDC, the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), and the Ohio and other state departments of health are investigating a multistate outbreak of human Campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain.

This week CDC officials reported in an outbreak advisory that 39 people across 7 states F(lorida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) have had laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection; 12 are Petland employees from 4 states and the rest of the cases had either recently purchased a puppy at Petland or lived in a home with a puppy sold through Petland.

Officials with Petland are cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak, according to the advisory.

Campylobacter can spread through contact with dog feces. It usually does not spread from one person to another.

A statement from Petland noted that the 39 people who were affected "completed several different questionnaires and one commonality was that they had visited a Petland store in the past week or worked there. The questionnaires were not consistent and didn't ask the same questions related to type of food the dogs ate or other contact with dogs." The statement also noted that CDC officials have not "identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any campylobacter infection. 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."

Illnesses began on dates ranging from September 15, 2016 through August 12, 2017. The most recent illness was reported on September 1, 2017, according to the CDC advisory.

According to the CDC's website, almost everyone who has Campylobacter recovers without treatment, but for those who are immunocompromised, antimicrobial therapy is warranted.
 

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