After humans became infected with a virus linked to puppies from Petland pet stores in September, the problem has just gotten worse for the pet store retailer.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out another advisory stating 16 additional cases of the Campylobacter infection have popped up in humans – and is believed to be tied to puppies from the Petland store. It is reported that the strain is not responding to first-line antibiotics.
To date, there are 55 cases tied to Petland, with 14 people having worked at the retailer and most of the remaining having visited a location. There have been 13 reported hospitalizations.
The CDC conducted tests and were able to link stool samples from puppies sold through Petland to those samples of people who became sick. People in 12 states — Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming – have been linked to the outbreak.
People who become infected with the disease may experience diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. While the symptoms often last for a week, the CDC did find that people and puppies who became sick were resistance to first-line antibiotics.
The outbreak was first reported on Sept. 11, with 39 cases. For its part, Petland is cooperating with the investigation and put out a statement, in part, saying:
The CDC has no new recommendations for Petland but continues to advise that Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and continues to follow Petland’s strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians. Since the initial contact, Petland has re-doubled its efforts in educating staff and customers about proper hand sanitization.
To avoid becoming infected with campylobacter, it is important to wash your hands if you handle puppies, clean up poop immediately in your household and use bags when picking it up. The CDC also recommends that when at a pet store, “pick a puppy or dog that is bright, alert, and playful. Puppies and dogs should have shiny, soft fur that is free of poop (feces).” Or you can just not buy a puppy from a pet store, as many come from puppy mills, or commercial breeders who put profit over the health of the dog.