Don't look now, but those adorable baby Labradors and basset hounds you've fallen in love with might be getting you very sick. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control announced that the "likely source" of an outbreak of Campylobacter—bacteria that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever—were puppies sold at Petland stores. Thirty-nine people in seven states have been sickened so far, 12 of them Petland employees and the other 27 people who had contact with puppies sold in the store, Live Science reports. Though no deaths have been attributed to the outbreak, nine of those infected have been hospitalized within the last year. The CDC says Campylobacter outbreaks are rare, since people usually get the bacteria from their own dogs, generally through contact with feces.
The CDC launched its investigation into the outbreak after the first case was reported last September, and the agency has been getting help from state health departments and the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Fox News reports. Petland is also cooperating with the investigation. People who come down with Campylobacter generally show symptoms within two to five days of exposure to the bacteria, and people with weakened immune systems, the very young, and the very old are the most vulnerable. The CDC recommends you take your puppy to the vet if he or she is experiencing diarrhea, troubled breathing, or a loss of appetite. (Read more puppy stories.)