Outbreak of Multidrug-resistant Campylobacter Infections Linked to Contact with Pet Store Puppies

CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Campylobacter jejuni infections linked to puppies purchased from pet stores.

Thirty people infected with the outbreak strain of Campylobacter jejuni have been reported from 13 states. Four hospitalizations have been reported; no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with puppies, especially those at pet stores, is the likely source of this outbreak.

Among 24 people interviewed:
21 (88%) of the 24 people reported contact with a puppy.
15 (71%) of these 21 people reported contact with a puppy from a pet store.
12 (80%) of these 15 people were linked to Petland, a national pet store chain.
5 (42%) of these 12 people were Petland employees.

Laboratory evidence indicates that bacteria from ill people in this outbreak are closely related genetically to bacteria from ill people in the 2016–2018 outbreak of multidrug-resistant Campylobacter infections linked to pet store puppies.

Campylobacter bacteria isolated from clinical samples from ill people in this outbreak are resistant to commonly recommended, first-line antibiotics.

Puppies and dogs can carry Campylobacter bcteria that can make people sick, even while appearing healthy and clean. People who own or come in contact with puppies or dogs should take steps to stay healthy around their pet.

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.
Wash your hands after cleaning up urine (pee), feces (poop), or vomit from your puppy or dog. Clean up any pee, poop, or vomit inside the house immediately. Then disinfect the area using a water and bleach solution.

Don’t let dogs lick around your mouth and face.

Don’t let dogs lick your open wound or areas with broken skin.

Take your dog to the veterinarian regularly to keep it healthy and to help prevent the spread of disease.

Within a few days after getting a new puppy or dog, take it to a veterinarian for a health check-up.

When choosing a pet dog, pick a puppy or dog that is bright, alert, and playful. Signs of illness include appearing lethargic (sluggish or tired), not eating, having diarrhea, and breathing abnormally. However, even a dog that appears healthy can spread germs to people and other animals. If your dog becomes sick soon after purchase or adoption, take your dog to a veterinarian promptly and inform the pet store, breeder, or rescue organization about the pet’s illness. Thoroughly clean the area occupied by your pet by using a water and bleach solution.

Source: CDC

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