A multi-state outbreak of Campylobacter has occurred in people associated with puppies from Petland as well as private breeders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “a total of 55 people with laboratory-confirmed infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection who live in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming have been linked to this outbreak.” The organism is spread through the fecal-oral route which means a person ingests feces from an infected dog. Clinical signs in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Some dogs may be asymptomatic carriers which means they shed the organism without having any signs of illness. Humans often have severe stomach cramps in addition to fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms usually last 5-7 days.
Unfortunately, this strain of Campylobacter is resistant to many antibiotics commonly prescribed for this disease including tetracycline, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin and erythromycin. This makes it a dangerous bacteria for all dogs and people, most especially those with compromised or immature immune systems.
The Arizona Veterinary Medical Association, of which I am a member, encourages people to take the following precautions:
- “Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after each encounter with the dog, their food, or waste.
- Pick up and dispose of pet waste immediately, and disinfect the area, especially in areas where children might play.
- Thoroughly clean areas occupied by sick pets and keep them isolated from other pets in the house.
- Don’t let pets lick areas around owner’s mouth, face, or areas with broken skin.”
- In addition, seek medical attention immediately for all sick dogs and/or humans with gastro-intestinal disease.
-‘Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Campylobacter Infections Linked to Contact with Pet Store Puppies’, Outbreak Advisory, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, posted Oct. 3, 2017.
-‘Zoonotic Disease Health Advisory: Multistate Outbreak of Human Campylobacter Infections Linked to Pet Store Puppies’ Arizona Veterinary News, AZVMA, October 2017.