Disease Outbreak Linked to Major Pet Store Chain
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), Ohio Department of Health and several other states to investigate a multi-state outbreak of human Campylobacter infections (campylobacteriosis) linked to puppies sold through Petland stores.
According to the CDC website, "Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts about one week. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms. In persons with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection."
As of September 11, 2017, the investigation had identified 39 people with laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection in seven states—Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, all of whom were exposed to puppies sold through Petland stores. Twelve are Petland employees from four states, while 27 either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began. The illnesses began between Sept. 15, 2016 and Aug. 12, 2017. The most recent case was reported on September 1, 2017.
Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak. In a statement on its website, the company noted, "Petland immediately provided the CDC with complete access to our stores, our staff, our consulting veterinarians, our operating procedures and our pets.
"The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any campylobacter infection. Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and has strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians."
The company encourages anyone with a specific personal concern relating to the possibility of contracting the bacteria to please call its help line at 877-658-5155.