CDC investigating Campylobacter outbreak linked to puppies

ATLANTA - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a 12-state outbreak of human Campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain.

"We know that Campylobacter is common in dogs, that's not new to us," CDC veterinarian Dr. Mark Laughlin said. "But an outbreak of human illnesses due to contact with dogs is quite unique." 

The CDC reports 55 people have confirmed infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection. Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming all have confirmed cases.

Laughlin said dogs commonly carry the germ causing Campylobacter infections. It varies whether pets even show symptoms of the infection, like diarrhea. But the infection can be transferred to humans when you touch, feed or clean up after your pet. 

Laughlin said the source of many of the infections has been linked to Petland. 

"These infections are all related based on their DNA, based on the DNA of the bacteria, tells us they're likely from the same place," Laughlin said. 

The CDC reports 14 confirmed cases in people are Petland employees across five states while 35 people either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland or visited someone with a puppy sold through Petland.

According to Petland, Inc., Petland has no store locations in Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Maryland.

“Petland has been able to provide traceback for any puppy purchased as requested by the CDC, thus making sense for CDC and Petland to work together to conduct testing,” a statement from the company said. “However, more than 98% of people obtain their puppies from other sources, including shelters, rescues, friends, online and through local advertising. Petland is therefore pleased that the CDC is expanding its investigation.”

The infection can spread through contact with dog poop, though officials said it typically does not spread between people.

Petland has “re-doubled” efforts on education regarding proper hand sanitation, the statement said.

“The CDC has no new recommendations for Petland but continues to advise that Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and continues to follow Petland’s strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians,” the statement said.

This particular strain appears to be antibiotic-resistant, according to CDC officials. Symptoms typically include diarrhea (often bloody), fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting and typically last a week. Children under 5, seniors, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women could be more severely affected. 13 people have reported being hospitalized with the infection.

The investigation is ongoing. CDC reports Petland is working with public health officials to address the outbreak.

Read the full statement from Petland, Inc.

(Chillicothe, OH: Oct 3, 2017) – Each year nearly 1.3 million Americans are infected with Campylobacter.  The most likely form of infection comes from consuming chicken, but as the CDC reported on September 11, Campylobacter also lives in the digestive tract of most dogs regardless of where the dog was obtained.  According to the CDC’s own report released today, "regardless of where they are from, any puppies and dogs may carry Campylobacter germs."

Today the CDC posted an update announcing they have expanded their investigation and confirmed they have found campylobacter in puppies sources other thanPetland. The CDC’s expanded investigation resulted in cases found in humans in Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Maryland.  These are states where Petland has no store locations.

Petland has been able to provide traceback for any puppy purchased as requested by the CDC, thus making sense for CDC and Petland to work together to conduct testing. However, more than 98% of people obtain their puppies from other sources, including shelters, rescues, friends, online and through local advertising. Petland is therefore pleased that the CDC is expanding its investigation.

The CDC has no new recommendations for Petland but continues to advise that Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and continues to follow Petland’s strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians. Since the initial contact, Petland has re-doubled its efforts in educating staff and customers about proper hand sanitization.

According to the CDC, symptoms typically appear within 2-5 days of being exposed to the bacteria. It is transmitted from feces to mouth. Symptoms typically include diarrhea, nausea, intestinal cramping and vomiting. The notice from the CDC also notes that this strain is resistant to some antibiotics, as is the case with other Campylobacter strains. CDC estimates that in the United States, more than two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections.The vast majority of Campylobacter cases are treated simply with hydration and rest.

“Maintenance of hydration and electrolyte balance, not antibiotic treatment, is the cornerstone of treatment for Campylobacter enteritis,” states Oxford Journal’s Clinical Infectious Diseases. “Indeed, most patients with Campylobacter infection have a self-limited illness and do not require antibiotics at all.”

Petland looks forward to our continued work with the CDC and will provide any further updates as they become available.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment