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Bacterial infection outbreak traced back to puppies at national pet store chain


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 pet store chain says they are working with the Center for Disease Control to identify any link between their pets and the outbreak, which in addition to Kansas, has spread to Missouri, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Of the patients, 18 lives in OH, 11 in Florida, five in Kansas, two in Pennsylvania, one in Missouri, one in Tennessee and one in Wisconsin. The first case that started this outbreak appeared on September 15, 2016.

"According to the CDC, almost 1.3 million people in the United States are affected each year by Campylobacter", Petland said in a news release. According to the CDC's announcement, nine people have been hospitalized and there are no reported deaths.

Petland issued a response on Wednesday, saying the national pet store chain is concerned to hear of the 39 cases. There are 39 confirmed cases of people with campylobacter.

The Petland store in Topeka said the CDC has not contacted them and would contact them to test their puppies if it was there.

CDC found a linked between the multistate outbreaks of the human #Campylobacter Infection to puppies being sold through #Petland. The infection presents more risks to people with weak immune systems such as people with cancer, elderly, and newborns. However, there are cases of complications which led to paralysis and even death.

People sickened in the current outbreak range in age from younger than 1 year to 64 years old. Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.

"Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously", the statement said. Though for any dog lover, washing your hands every time you pet them seems unrealistic. CDC recommends washing hands after handling puppies or other pet animals. Rankin says that she's seen many outbreak investigations, and it can be hard to pin down the exact cause. Extra care is needed so that children playing with puppies also wash their hands carefully. Finally, you need to contact your veterinarian if you see signs of illness in your puppy or dog. Pick up and dispose dog poop carefully, especially in areas where children might play.

While puppies and dogs with a campylobacter infection might have diarrhea, vomiting or a fever, just like humans, they also sometimes show no signs of illness.

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