CDC: Pet-store puppies linked to bacterial outbreak among people in 13 states

The CDC is investigating a multistate outbreak of campylobacter infections linked to contact with puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain. (iStock/Asian)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – More than two dozen people have been infected by a bacteria linked to puppies purchased from pet stores. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating cases of campylobacter jejuni infections in 13 states, including Florida and Georgia.

The CDC reports 30 people have been infected nationwide, including 1 person in both Florida and Georgia. The bacteria can spread from animals to people. During it’s investigation, the CDC said it interviewed two dozen people .

Among them, 21 reported contact with a puppy and more than half of those said that contact happened at a pet store. Specifically, the CDC said a dozen cases are linked to the national chain, Petland. In a recent statement, the company said in more than one third of the cases have been found in people in 13 states where there are no Petland stores—including Utah, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Maryland.

"Petland takes the health and welfare of our employees, our customers and our pets very seriously. Since an earlier outbreak in 2016, in which no specific source of infection was identified, Petland has implemented all recommended protocols from federal and state animal and public health officials to prevent human and puppy illness, including: mandatory sanitary training for all employees, signage displayed prominently throughout the stores, multiple available sanitation stations, customer brochures describing common puppy diseases and recommendations to keep people and pets healthy, changing animal husbandry and sanitation practices to prevent transmission of Campylobacter among puppies and between puppies and people, implementing infection prevention and education protocols to help reduce illnesses among Petland employees and customers, and requesting its veterinarians implement judicious use of antimicrobial agents in puppies at Petland locations to reduce selective pressure for multidrug resistant strains of Campylobacter."

According to the CDC, the symptoms include a fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps. The agency is reminding pet owners and pet store workers to wash hands after coming in contact with puppies or dogs, especially after cleaning up any messes.

If you or your puppy seems infected, the CDC said it will help if you inform the pet store, rescue, or breeder that sent your puppy home with you. This information helps the CDC track where the infection is coming from.

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