Eighteen states, more than 100 people sick, 26 hospitalizations—and an unknown number of puppies as the likely infection-spreaders. That's the word out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has tied contact with puppies at six pet-store companies to the outbreak of human diarrheal infections from the Campylobacter bacteria, reports CBS News. The CDC's weekly report on morbidity and mortality, published Friday, notes 118 people fell ill from January 2016 through February 2018, with 29 of them being pet store workers; 26 people ended up at the hospital. Of those 118, 105 had reported being in contact with a dog at some point, with the vast majority of those interactions happening at pet stores. The stores weren't named in the CDC report, though Petland had been named previously, when the outbreak was first reported last year.
The spread of Campylobacter usually happens when people ingest bacteria-tinged food or beverages, such as raw or undercooked poultry, raw milk, or tainted water, a CDC researcher tells HealthDay News. "It's rare that it's associated with contact with pets," Mark Laughlin says, though he warns: "This is most likely the tip of the iceberg." What also makes these recent Campylobacter infections unusual is they've been resistant to antibiotics. The CDC report notes health and agriculture officials visited 20 pet stores in four states and found 95% of the puppies' records indicated had had antibiotics administered before they got to the store or while there. Some of the antibiotics the puppies took are the same ones to which humans are resistant. (Read more puppies stories.)