Multi-state Campylobacter outbreak linked to contact with puppies

Image courtesy of CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a 13-state outbreak of 30 Campylobacter illnesses linked to contact with puppies.

Four of the 30 victims have been hospitalized.

The outbreak began early in January 2019.

Among the 24 outbreak victims who were interviewed, 21 (88%) reported contact with puppies. Fifteen of the victims indicated the puppy came from a pet store; 12 reported contact with a puppy from the Petland. Five of these were Petland employees.

Petland is an international pet store chain with operations in the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, El Salvador, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

Outbreak cases have been reported in Connecticut (1), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Kentucky (3), Maryland (1), Minnesota (6), Nevada (4), Ohio (5), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (1), Utah (3) and Wyoming (1).

The outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics, including: tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid, azithromycin, erythromycin, clindamycin, telithromycin, and gentamicin.

No single, common source for the puppies has been identified.

The strain of Campylobacter identified with this outbreak is very similar genetically to the strain that was responsible for 113 illnesses and 23 hospitalizations in a similar outbreak in 2016-2018.

The earlier outbreak also was associated with contact between outbreak victims and puppies sold through Petland stores.

Puppies and dogs infected with Campylobacter may suffer from diarrhea lasting 5 – 15 days. The diarrhea may be watery to bloody with mucus, and is sometimes bile-stained. Not every infected dog exhibits symptoms, and apparently healthy dogs may still be able to transmit the bacteria to other animals or to people.

Symptoms of Campylobacter infection in people include diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and stomach cramps 2 to 5 days after being exposed to the bacteria.

According to CDC, the illness usually lasts about a week and most people recover without antibiotic treatment.


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