CLEVELAND (WJW) — The Centers for Disease Control is investigating a multi-state outbreak of a drug-resistant infection that they believe is linked to contact with pet store puppies.
The CDC said Tuesday that 30 people have been infected across 13 states, including Ohio, with a strain of Campylobacter jejuni. Four people have been hospitalized.
Health officials have identified contact with puppies, especially those from pet stores, as the likely source of the outbreak.
Of the 24 infected people who were interviewed, 21 said they had contact with a puppy. 15 of those people said that puppy was from a pet store.
The CDC also said that 12 of those 15 people visited the national pet store chain Petland.
As of Tuesday cases were confirmed in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.
Most states only had one or two cases, however Ohio had 5.
Laboratory evidence indicates that bacteria from those impacted by 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.
The CDC says to wash your hands after touching dogs, handling their food or cleaning up after them.
They also advise to supervise children around dogs and to not let the animals lick your mouth, face, open wounds or any area with broken skin.
According to the CDC, Campylobacter infections affect more than 1.5 million people annually but most cases go undiagnosed or unreported. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps
Health officials say it is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the U.S. and those with Campylobacter infection usually recover on their own. Some people require antibiotic treatment.
Contact your physician if you are concerned.