CDC Investigating Multistate Human Infections Linked to Puppies from Petland
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that puppies sold through Petland stores are a likely source of this outbreak, according to the CDC.
The CDC is investigating a multistate outbreak of human Campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain with headquarters in Chillicothe, Ohio.
The outbreak includes 39 people with laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection who live in seven states—Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin—and were exposed to puppies sold through Petland stores. Of the reported case, 12 are Petland employees from four states, and 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.
Campylobacter can spread through contact with dog feces. It usually does not spread from one person to another. According to the CDC, symptoms typically appear within 2-5 days of being exposed to the bacteria. Symptoms typically include diarrhea, nausea, intestinal cramping and vomiting.
Illnesses began on dates ranging from Sep. 15, 2016 through Aug. 12, 2017. The most recent illness was reported on Sept. 1, 2017.
Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 64 years, with a median age of 22 years; 28 (72 percent) are female; and 9 (23 percent) report being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that puppies sold through Petland stores are a likely source of this outbreak. Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.
Whole genome sequencing showed samples of Campylobacter isolated from the stool of puppies sold through Petland in Florida were closely related to Campylobacter isolated from the stool of an ill person in Ohio. Additional laboratory results from people and dogs are pending.
The CDC has not identified any failures of Petland's operating system that would lead to any campylobacter infection, said Petland officials in a statement. “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,” Petland officials said in the statement.
The CDC advised Petland to "continue to do what we are already doing" and to continue to educate customers and staff to sanitize their hands after handling puppies.
“Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously,” the statement said. “In a 2016 study, less than 1.2 percent of puppies purchased from Petland incurred any sort of medical issue requiring medical hospitalization. In addition, our extensive health warranty protects both our pets and our customers from bacterial, viral and congenital issues.”
This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide updates as more information becomes available.