Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is investigating an outbreak of campylobacter infections linked to contact with puppies sold through Petland. According to the CDC, it is "one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States".
Nine people have been hospitalized so far but no deaths have been reported.
According to the CDC, illnesses began on September 15, 2016. However, the bacterial infection can also be acquired through contact with the stool of an ill dog and cat. The most recent illness was reported on September 1, 2017. Nonetheless, patients have high chances of recovery within five days from their contamination without following any treatment. The infection presents more risks to people with weak immune systems such as people with cancer, elderly, and newborns.
People sickened in the current outbreak range in age from younger than 1 year to 64 years old.
"According to the CDC, almost 1.3 million people in the United States are affected each year by Campylobacter", Petland said in a news release. All infected individuals were exposed to the puppies within Petland stores, according to a recent outbreak notice.
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"The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any Campylobacter infection".
The CDC noted that no matter where a puppy comes from, it may carry a campylobacter infection. Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.
"Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously", the statement said. When that happens, the most important ways consumers can protect themselves is to keep poultry cold and cook it thoroughly, she said.
For the most part, you can steer clear of the infection by practicing good hand hygiene. Extra care is needed so that children playing with puppies also wash their hands carefully. Clearly, people aren't running around eating poop, but in this case, Dr. Adalja suspects people handled dog poop or played with dogs that had some fecal matter containing the bacteria on their bodies and didn't wash their hands afterward. Finally, you need to contact your veterinarian if you see signs of illness in your puppy or dog.
The Ohio-based company says in a statement that it is working with the CDC in the investigation.