The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials in several states are investigating an outbreak of multidrug-resistant Campylobacter jejuni infections that has sickened 30 people in 13 states. Four people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Interviews with ill people and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with puppies, especially those from pet stores, is the source of this outbreak. This investigation is ongoing. A single, common supplier of puppies has not been identified.
Puppies and dogs can carry Campylobacter germs that can make people sick, even while appearing healthy and clean. People who own, work with or come in contact with puppies or dogs should take steps to stay healthy. Campylobacter bacteria can spread to people through contact with poop of infected animals and contaminated food or water.
Advice for pet owners:
· Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching your puppy or dog, after handling their food and after cleaning up after them.
· Adults should supervise handwashing for young children.
· If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands with soap and water.
· Pick up and dispose of dog poop, especially in areas where children might play.
· Contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your puppy or dog.
· Within a few days after getting a new puppy or dog, take it to a veterinarian for a health check-up.
Advice for pet store workers:
· Ask store management for training about handwashing, clean-up procedures and other illness prevention measures.
· Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water every time you handle dogs or anything in the area where they live and roam, including their food, treats or food and water containers.
· Follow store protocols for identifying and reporting sick or injured animals.
· Report any illness, especially diarrhea or vomiting, to your employer.
· Practice responsible use of antibiotics in pet stores.