Bacteria outbreak linked to pet store chain includes Pa. locations

CDC Links Puppies Sold at Petland to Multi State Infection Outbreak

CDC Links Puppies Sold at Petland to Multi State Infection Outbreak

The infected puppies have already caused the sickening of 39 people, and at least nine have been hospitalized.

The outbreak was reported between September 15, 2016 and August 12, 2017.

Last year, the CDC reported that cats, and particularly kittens were increasingly spreading the second-most common disease given to people by their cats: the infamous 'cat-scratch fever'. 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. Most people recover within three to five days without treatment. It doesn't cause any health problems for the infected felines, but can cause lymph node swelling, fever, and even brain swelling, heart infections and death in humans. Those most at risk include people with weakened immune systems, young children, the elderly and pregnant women.

The median age of the victims is 22 years, but they range in age from less than a year to 64 years old.

Twelve of the campylobacter victims are Petland employees from stores in four states. 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 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. Petland is also collaborating with the CDC in the investigation. Petland chief executive Joe Watson said the company's health warranty would cover vet-related costs for customers whose puppies were infected. They say they reinforce proper hand sanitization before and after handling puppies and they have strict kennel sanitization procedures.

Toppled Cranes Floods More Jose Jimenez  Getty Images
Toppled Cranes Floods More Jose Jimenez Getty Images

"Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously", the statement said. The most important thing to coping with a Campylobacter infection is to stay hydrated.

Epidemiologic and laboratory findings have linked the outbreak to contact with puppies sold through Petland stores. Additional laboratory results from people and dogs are pending.

The U.S. agency recommends that people wash their hands thoroughly after touching dogs, their poop, or their food.

Regardless of where they are from, any puppies and dogs may carry Campylobacter germs.

The CDC has linked 39 cases to this outbreak.

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