Outbreak Of Pet Store Related Infection Hits New York

A multi-state outbreak of a drug-resistant illness linked to pet store puppies is currently under investigation, according to the CDC.

The infection is linked to pet store puppies, the CDC says.
The infection is linked to pet store puppies, the CDC says. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Paramus PD

As of December 2017, two people in both Connecticut and New York were infected with Campylobacter bacteria -- which is resistant to commonly recommended, first-line antibiotics making it difficult to treat.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that contact with puppies sold through Petland stores is a likely source of this outbreak.

Since the last update on October 30, 2017, 30 more ill people have been reported from 11 states. The most recent illness began on Oct. 23, 2017.

As of Dec. 12, 2017, 97 people with laboratory-confirmed infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection have been linked to this outbreak. Illnesses have been reported from 17 states.

Twenty-two of 91 ill people with available information have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Of 89 people interviewed, 87 (98%) reported contact with a puppy in the week before illness started. Of 88 people interviewed, 79 (90%) reported they had contact with a puppy from a Petland store, or had contact with a person who became sick after contact with a puppy from a Petland store. 

Twenty-one ill people worked at a Petland store, according to the CDC.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that the Campylobacter isolates from sick people in this outbreak and isolates from pet store puppies were closely related genetically, providing additional evidence that people got sick from contact with pet store puppies, the CDC says.

Follow these steps to prevent illness when handling puppies or dogs:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching puppies or picking up their poop.
  • Work with your veterinarian to keep your animals healthy and prevent diseases.

This investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as more information becomes available.

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