Multistate Campylobacter Outbreak Linked to Puppies Sold by Petland



But in rare cases they may develop a condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, which affects a person's nerves several weeks after they have diarrhea, Dr. Adalja says.

The bacteria can be spread through contact with the feces of an infected dog or cat, but it can also be the source of foodborne infection through raw or undercooked poultry meat, contaminated water, unpasteurized dairy and produce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infection has allegedly stemmed from a national pet store chain that sold sick puppies to customers. There are now no cases in the New York Area. The following states have been affected by this outbreak: Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

The CDC said investigators are looking for the source of campylobacter infections in people and puppies so they can recommend how to stop the outbreak and prevent more illnesses.

Nine people have been hospitalized so far but no deaths have been reported. Petland is cooperating with the investigation, the government agency said.

Twelve of the confirmed cases are in Petland employees, and 27 other people who fell ill either visited a Petland, recently purchased a puppy there, or visited or live in a home with a Petland puppy. The company says that accordance with the CDC's advice, they will continue their efforts to encourage handwashing after contact with puppies. So if you've got a puppy with diarrheal illness, call your vet as soon as possible, Maddox advised. Rankin says that she's seen many outbreak investigations, and it can be hard to pin down the exact cause.

How does human Campylobacter infection spread?

According to the CDC, any puppy or dog, regardless of where they come from, may carry the Campylobacter germ. The symptoms typically appear two to five days after the contact with bacteria and can last around a week.

For every 100,000 people, 14 cases of Campylobacter infection are diagnosed each year. The CDC says people typically need antibiotics only if they're immune compromised or at high risk of complications. 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. And it can't hurt to also wash your hands after playing with dogs. That's why washing your hands after cleaning up after your pet is so important.

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