30 people sickened after reportedly touching puppies at pet stores

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(WTNH) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning after 30 people reported being sick after touching pet store puppies.

Of those 30 infected with multidrug-resistant campylobacter jejuni, four have been hospitalized.

Officials said the outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni was reported in 13 states, including Connecticut. 

Campylobacter infection occurs after eating raw or undercooked poultry or eating something that touched it. Officials said the puppies came in contact with the bacteria, which spread to the humans when they touched the animals.

The CDC said 71% of the people said they came into contact with a puppy at a pet store. Eighty percent of those dogs were at a Petland — a national pet store chain.

“Laboratory evidence indicates that bacteria from ill people in 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 said in a release.

Signs on an infection include diarrhea (that’s often bloody), fever, and stomach cramping. They should surface within two to five days after being exposed to the bacteria.

People usually recover within a week without antibiotic treatment. However, antibiotics are needed for those who are very ill or at high risk for severe disease.

Everyone is encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water after coming in contact with a puppy at any pet store. If that option is not available, hand sanitizer is the next best option.

The CDC said people should also not let the puppy lick them in or around the mouth, face, or in an area with an open wound.

If a puppy becomes ill once home, the owner should wear gloves while cleaning up feces or vomit and then wash their hands. The dog should visit the veterinarian as soon as possible.

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