Campylobacter Puppies Linked to Outbreak Traced to Petland

Faith Castro
September 12, 2017

Poop from puppies sold at Petland stores in seven states, including Kansas and Missouri, is giving people massive diarrhea. OH has seen 18 cases, Florida 11, Pennsylvania, two, and Wisconsin and Tennessee with one apiece.

Campylobacter wasn't one of the conditions the group reported, but advocates said the conditions the dogs were kept in are possible disease vectors.

The CDC says says the pet store chain is cooperating with health officials to address the outbreak.

The CDC launched an investigation in conjunction with several states' health departments and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service after the first case was reported in September 2016. Contact tracing in the seven affected states found that each illness involved the same strain of the bacteria. Along with the 18 cases in OH, the CDC reports 11 cases were found in Florida, 5 in Kansas, 2 in Pennsylvania, and one case each in Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The other 27 people either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland store, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began.

The median age of the victims is 22 years, but they range in age from less than a year to 64 years old. Petland is also collaborating with the CDC in the investigation.

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The infection is common in dogs and can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals, their poop, or food, but isn't normally transmitted from one human to another. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

Most cases are isolated, and not as part of an outbreak, says the CDC. 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. The 2009 investigation also revealed Petland also bought the dogs through brokers who worked as middlemen between the retail stores and those facilities. The CDC says it is unusual to get the disease from another person.

In a statement, Petland said the company is "proud of our commitment to quality controls and record keeping and we are happy to help the CDC in this new endeavor", and notes that any dog or puppy may carry the germ.

But the agency urged potential adopters to 'pick a puppy or dog that is bright, alert, and playful, ' and to have a vet make sure the new family member has a clean bill of health.

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