Pet store puppies sicken 39 people in multistate bacterial outbreak

The CDC is investigating a multistate outbreak of Campylobacter infections linked to pet store puppies, according to an agency outbreak advisory issued Monday.

Health officials identified 39 cases of Campylobacteriosis illness associated with exposure to puppies at Petland pet stores across seven states from Sept. 15, 2016 to Sept. 1, 2017.

Twelve cases occurred among Petland employees and 27 involved individuals who either recently purchased a puppy from Petland, visited a Petland store or went to a home containing a recently purchased Petland puppy. Nine of the infected individuals were hospitalized, although no deaths occurred.

The seven states with confirmed cases are Florida (11), Kansas (5), Missouri (1), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee (1) and Wisconsin (1).

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease caused by Campylobacter bacteria. The bacteria can be contracted through contact with contaminated feces and is not usually spread via person-to-person contact. Most sickened individuals experience diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever within two to five days after bacterial exposure. The diarrhea may be bloody. The illness typically lasts about a week.

The investigation into the outbreak is ongoing.

"The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any campylobacter infection," said Petland. "The CDC stated that 'regardless of where they came from, any puppy and dog' can carry the germ. However, Petland is the only national source of puppies that can trace a puppy from its new owner back to its original kennel. Petland is proud of our commitment to quality controls and record keeping and we are happy to help the CDC in this new endeavor."

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