CDC Investigating After 39 People Become Sick from Petland Puppies

CDC Investigating After 39 People Become Sick from Petland Puppies

Thirty-nine people in the U.S. contracted an infection called Campylobacter from puppies this year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in an outbreak notice on Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now 39 confirmed cases in 7 states of human Campylobacter infections.

According to the CDC, at least 39 people across seven states have confirmed or suspected cases of Campylobacter bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.

While many cases go unreported, about 14 cases for every 100,000 people are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the CDC. The first case that started this outbreak appeared on September 15, 2016. Overall, campylobacteriosis - which occurs much more frequently in the summer months than in the winter - is estimated to affect over 1.3 million persons every year.

As of September 11, the agency noticed the signs of a campylobacter outbreak as 39 people reported such symptoms. Out of the total of 39, 27 either bought a puppy from this pet store chain or had contact with a house that hosted a puppy purchased through this company. Severe infections could result to fatal complications that may either cause paralysis or death.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that puppies sold through Petland stores are a likely source of this outbreak.

However, infants, the elderly, cancer patients and other people with weakened immune systems are at most risk of developing serious infections from the bacteria. Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.

People sickened in the current outbreak range in age from younger than 1 year to 64 years old.

"The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any campylobacter infection", Elizabeth Kunzelman, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an email.

"Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously", the statement said. Rankin says that she's seen many outbreak investigations, and it can be hard to pin down the exact cause.

While the exact cause of this outbreak is not known, there are a few possible reasons the puppies could be sick. The best way to of avoid being contaminated with the bacteria is through proper hand washing.

The CDC also recommends quickly disposing of dog poop using disposable gloves, as well as regular visits to the veterinarian to keep your dog healthy.

How does human Campylobacter infection spread?