Dozens more Americans infected with puppy-cuddling disease

Thirty more Americans have been diagnosed with an infection linked to cuddling puppies, CDC officials warned on Wednesday.

The agency last issued a warning about Campylobacter on October 30 when 55 people were found to be infected across the United States.

Now a total of 97 people with infections or symptoms consistent with the infection have been linked to this outbreak.

Five more people have been hospitalized with symptoms of severe diarrhea, vomiting, nausea fever and cramping, bringing the total to 22. No deaths have been reported.
The CDC warns that 30 more people have been infected with Campylobacter which is linked to puppies. This brings the total number of cases to 97 in 17 states

The new cases were identified in Connecticut and Massachusetts, bringing the total number of states affected to 17.

Outbreaks have been detected in Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Utah, Wyoming, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging citizens to report any cases, and have issues guidelines for dog lovers on how to stay safe.

Campylobacter can cause diarrhea, vomiting and fever in dogs, but symptoms aren’t always apparent or obvious. Humans suffer similar symptoms, as well as cramping, nausea and bloody stool.

About 90 percent of those infected reported contact with a puppy from a pet store.

Coping with Campylobacter

The CDC has advised pet owners to take particular care to clean up after their dogs and wash their hands thoroughly. The notice also suggests animal lovers turn down puppy kisses, and keep them from licking open wounds.

Catching Campylobacter: symptoms to watch for

Sypmtoms include:

  • Diarrhea, sometimes with blood
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Cramping

How to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching dogs, their poop, or their food. Take extra care that children playing with puppies also wash their hands carefully
  • Pick up and dispose of dog poop, especially in areas where children might play
  • Contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your puppy or dog

Though unpleasant, the infection usually runs its course without antibiotics, though they are used to treat some cases. The most important thing to coping with a Campylobacter infection is to stay hydrated.

The CDC said that its investigation into the outbreak’s origin is ongoing, and that Petland is cooperating.

Know your animal ailments 

Campylobacter is the most common illness that humans contract from both dogs and cats, according to the CDC. People also frequently get various types of worms and rabies from their dogs, and cats can come with trouble too.

Last year, the CDC reported that cats, and particularly kittens were increasingly spreading the second-most common disease given to people by their cats: the infamous ‘cat-scratch fever.’

The disease comes from a bacteria in cats’ mouths and claws, called Bartonella henselae. It doesn’t cause any health problems for the infected felines, but can cause lymph node swelling, fever, and even brain swelling, heart infections and death in humans.

The Campylobacter outbreak notice reminded both pet store employees and pet owners that the best way to prevent the spread of pet-borne diseases is to be vigilant in keeping animals, their food, water and living space clean.

Stay happy AND healthy with your pet

The CDC still stood by man’s best friend (and favorite felines): ‘The bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners,’ the notice said.

But the agency urged potential adopters to ‘pick a puppy or dog that is bright, alert, and playful,’ and to have a vet make sure the new family member has a clean bill of health.

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