People across the country have been getting infected with a virus that usually affects animals, Campylobacter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all cases are connected to dogs bought from the pet-store Petland.

At least 49 cases of people infected with Campylobacter a virus that produces vomiting and diarrhea have been reported. Fourteen cases are Petland employees, and the other 35 are people who either recently “purchased” a puppy at the store, “visited” Petland, or “visited or lived” in a home with a dog sold in the store before the illness began. The first case reported is from September 12.

The 12 states with people infected by Petland puppies are Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Twenty-two come from Ohio, and 13 from Florida. Both represent 63.6 percent of the known infections around the country.

Petland puppies sick Campylobacter, Diarrhea outbreak puppies
Petland puppies have sicken dozens in the U.S. Image credit: Vetcetera

Doctors, at first, didn’t understand what was causing this virus outbreak. When Campylobacter affects people, the cases are usually isolated. The bacteria often causes a “large volume of diarrhea,” explains the CDC website. However, when health officials discovered that there were pet-stores and animals connected to the incidents, they knew right away what had caused this.

“Evidence suggests that puppies sold through Petland are a likely source of this outbreak,” the CDC said in a news release issued Sept 11. “Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.”

The puppies’ feces carry Campylobacter

The puppies are transmitting the deadly Campylobacter infections through their feces. People who don’t know about the virus, and have contact with the dog’s feces without appropriately cleaning their hands later. Plus, they have very high chances of touching their mouths after and get infected with the disease.

The CDC said on Tuesday that four had been hospitalized since mid-September, “bringing the total to 13.” However, and fortunately, no one has died after this Campylobacter bacteria outbreak began.

Unfortunately, this Campylobacter outbreak has led to more problems than it should. It seems that the virus is quite resistant to common antibiotics such as azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, erythromycin, nalidixic acid, and telithromycin.

“Outbreaks of Campylobacter have most often been associated with unpasteurized dairy products, contaminated water, poultry, and produce,” the CDC says. “Animals can also be infected, and some people get infected from contact with the stool of an ill dog or cat.”

Some people don’ts how symptoms 

The majority of people who got infected with Campylobacteriosis got diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the virus. According to the CDC, this diarrhea can come with blood. Additionally, it can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. People feel the symptoms usually for about one week. However, some others do not present symptoms at all.

Petland puppies sick Campylobacter, Diarrhea outbreak puppies
Petland reportedly buys all of its puppies from puppy mills, in which dogs are bred in unhygienic conditions. Image credit: Petland

This virus could represent a severe risk to people with compromised immune systems, occasionally reaching the bloodstream and causing several life-threatening infections.

Like humans, dogs often don’t show the symptoms when they are infected with the Campylobacter. This urges their owners to be more careful when they handle their feces.

The CDC says that it’s better for people who have dogs to wash their hands when they touch the dog’s poop, food, and even their same body especially if they are puppies. Additionally, is better to teach the animals where to do their necessities and sleep.

If you notice any signs of illness in your puppy or dog, call the veterinarian.

Source: CDC