Ninety-three people have been infected with Salmonella in a 27-state outbreak linked to contact with pig ear dog treats, according to the latest update from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Twenty of the outbreak victims have been admitted to hospital.
Pig ear dog treats sold from bulk bins at Pet Supplies Plus stores are thought to be behind the outbreak, which involves four different Salmonella serotypes, including: I 4,,12:i:-, Infantis, Newport, and London.
Lab testing (Whole Genome Sequencing) is in progress to determine whether the strains recovered from from the treats are a genetic match to those recovered from outbreak patients, according to FDA.
Testing carried out by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) found three of the four serotypes in samples taken from bulk product in a Pet Supplies Plus store in that state.
On July 3rd, Pet Supplies Plus pulled bulk pig ear dog treats from their stores and stopped shipping the bulk product from their Distribution Center. The bulk treats had been distributed to stores in AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI and WV.
Prepackaged pig ear dog treats are not implicated in this outbreak and remain on store shelves.
Confirmed outbreak cases have been reported from Alabama (1), Arizona (1), California (1), Colorado (2), Florida (2), Georgia (1), Hawaii (1), Illinois (6), Indiana (4), Iowa (18), Kansas (3), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (4), Michigan (9), Minnesota (1), Missouri (5), New York (11), North Carolina (1), North Dakota (1), Ohio (5), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (3), South Carolina (1), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).
Pet Supplies Plus stores were located in most, but not all, of the states reporting outbreak cases.
A single, common source of the bulk pig ear dog treats has not yet been identified. It is possible that the same contaminated batch of treats also was supplied to other retailers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received “a few” complaints of sick dogs, and is in the process of evaluating these, according to a spokesperson for the agency.
FDA encourages consumers to report complaints electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal. FDA will evaluate any additional complaints it receives.
Veterinarians who wish to have pets tested for Salmonella may do so through the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN Network) if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella.