CDC: Multistate Infection Outbreak Linked To Petland Puppies, 2 Pa. Cases Reported

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today (Sept. 11) that it is investigating an outbreak of Campylobacter - a bacteria that causes diarrhea - linked with puppies sold at Petland stores, a national pet store chain. But animals also can be infected, and they can spread the bacteria to people even though they might not show any symptoms.

The CDC says epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates puppies sold at Petland are a likely source of the outbreak and the store chain is cooperating with health officials to address the outbreak. Patients typically develop symptoms within two to five days of exposure and may suffer from diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Most cases are isolated, and not as part of an outbreak, says the CDC.

Twitter users blamed puppy mills for the infections and advised adopting a pet from a shelter. Petland refuted the Animal Legal Defense Fund's claims as baseless and exhausted, according to the report.

The CDC didn't say who supplied the dogs to the retail chain, but a 2009 investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States showed that nearly every Petland store in the US bought its dogs directly from puppy mills, according to Newsweek.

Dr. Bloze said Campylobacter outbreaks happen when dogs are under stress.

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"It's not hard to see how animals raised in these cramped and unsanitary conditions, trucked hundreds of miles from puppy mills to the pet stores, intermingled with other fragile young animals and handled by numerous employees and customers could become disease vectors", he said.

Watson said Petland's veterinarians probably would not have tested puppies for Campylobacter unless they were exhibiting symptoms.

The CDC has not publicly released lists of which Petland locations are involved and Petland spokeswoman Elizabeth Kunzelman said the federal agency has not told Petland either.

This is a common cause of diarrhea in the United States, she said. It usually does not spread from one person to another. The most important thing to coping with a Campylobacter infection is to stay hydrated.

The CDC stated that "regardless of where they came from, any puppy and dog" can carry the germ.

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. It's also a bad idea to let a dog lick your mouth or face, the agency says.

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