Cuddly pet store puppies are again making people sick, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
The Atlanta-based CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating another outbreak of multidrug-resistant human Campylobacter jejuni infections linked to contact with puppies from pet stores.
In September 2018, the CDC reported that puppies with Campylobacter jejuni — a bacteria that causes about 1.3 million diarrheal illnesses in the United States annually — were to blame for at least 118 people in 18 states falling ill.
Illnesses started to appear in January. Ill people range in age from 8 months to 70 years. Of the 26 people with information available, four have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Laboratory evidence indicates contact with puppies — especially those at pet stores — is the likely source of this outbreak, the CDC reported.
According to the report:
- 21 (88%) of 24 people interviewed reported contact with a puppy.
- 15 (71%) of those 21 people reported contact with a puppy from a pet store.
- 12 (80%) of those 15 people were linked to Petland, a national pet store chain.
- 5 (42%) of those 12 people were Petland employees.
Symptoms of Campylobacter infection are diarrhea (often bloody), fever and abdominal cramps. The diarrhea might be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually start two to five days after exposure and last about a week.
If you’ve recently adopted a puppy from Petland or another pet store, the CDC offers these recommendations:
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching your puppy or dog, after handling their food, and after cleaning 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.
- Wash your hands after cleaning up urine, feces or vomit from your puppy or dog. Clean up any urine, feces or vomit inside the house immediately. Then disinfect the area using a water and bleach solution.
- Don’t let dogs lick around your mouth and face.
- Don’t let dogs lick your open wound or areas with broken skin.
- Take your dog to the veterinarian regularly to keep it healthy and to help prevent the spread of disease.
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