How Infectious Is That Puppy in the Window?

30 people infected with Campylobacter bacteria this year linked to puppies, says CDC
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2019 9:01 AM CST
Infections in 13 States Tied to Pet Store Puppies
Puppies play in a cage at a pet store in Columbia, Md., on Aug. 26, 2019.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Take extra precautions if you plan to have a puppy under your Christmas tree. The CDC is investigating a multi-state outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant infection believed to be linked to puppies from pet stores. Thirty people in 13 states were infected with Campylobacter jejuni, a bacteria found to be resistant to multiple drugs, from January to mid-November. Patients usually recover from symptoms including fever, diarrhea, and stomach pains without antibiotics after a week. But the bacteria can be fatal among the vulnerable, including young children and those with weakened immune systems, reports ABC News. So far, four people have been hospitalized. Those infected range in age from 8 months to 70 years.

"Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that puppies purchased from pet stores are the likely source of this outbreak," the CDC says, per CNN. Some 21 of 24 patients interviewed reported contact with a puppy, while 15 said the contact came at a pet store. Of those, 12 were linked to Petland, including five store employees. Petland was also tied to a 2016-2018 outbreak, though it wasn't the only pet store. Officials say "bacteria from ill people in this outbreak are closely related genetically to bacteria from ill people" in the earlier cases. For your safety, take puppies to the vet, and "always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water" after touching a dog, its food, or after cleaning up messes. (Beware of dog kisses, too.)

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