Bacteria linked to puppies from chain store Petland has infected people in seven states, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In all, 39 people were infected with campylobacter bacteria after exposure to puppies sold at Petland, a national pet store chain, according to a CDC outbreak advisory published Monday. The illnesses were reported from Sept. 15, 2016, through Aug. 12, 2017.
Infection with the bacteria causes flu-like symptoms that typically last about a week and can be dangerous for people with compromised immune systems.
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People in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin were affected, according to the release. Twelve people found to be infected were Petland employees and 27 had recently purchased a puppy from the chain, visited one of the stores or visited a home with a puppy from one of the stores.
State health departments and federal agencies are investigating.
Petland is cooperating with the investigation, according to an emailed statement. The company said questionnaires the CDC used to establish a link to Petland were inconsistent, not asking everyone the same questions about what type of food the dogs ate or other contact with dogs.
“Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies with the many sanitation stations in each store and has strict kennel sanitation procedures and protocols put in place by consulting veterinarians,” according to the statement.
The outbreak advisory did not specify where in Pennsylvania the infections were found. The state Health Department typically doesn't release county-level information on disease outbreaks, citing patient privacy laws.
The CDC urges people to wash their hands after touching dogs, their poop or their food to prevent infections. Dogs can carry the bacteria no matter where they are from, according to the agency.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.