The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a 12-state outbreak of human Campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold through Petland, a national pet store chain.
According to an alert issued by the CDC on Oct. 3, 55 people have confirmed infections or symptoms consistent with Campylobacter infection. Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming all have confirmed cases.
Petland issued a statement, saying: "The CDC has no new recommendations for Petland but continues to advise that Petland reinforces proper hand sanitization before and after playing with any of our puppies ... Petland has re-doubled its efforts in educating staff and customers."
LINK: Advice to pet owners
Knoxville Petland General Manager David Bravo said he plans to help customers, staff and pets stay healthy and clean.
"This is a family place where we want families to come in and enjoy themselves and feel safe about coming into our store," Bravo said.
You can use one of the 17 hand sanitizing stations to keep clean as you're visiting with the animals.
"The things that we do here are nothing that we haven't done since I started with Petland seven years ago," Bravo said.
His priority is staying clean.
"It's not just for the bacteria that can affect us humans, but the stuff that can go back and forth from the animals," Bravo said.
The CDC issued an initial announcement about the outbreak on Sept. 11, 2017. Since then, an additional 16 sick people with the infection linked to the outbreak have been reported.
According to the CDC, 14 Petland employees from 5 states are impacted.
Thirty-five people either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began. One person had sexual contact with a person with a confirmed illness linked to Petland. Four people were exposed to puppies from various sources and one person had unknown puppy exposure.
"We know that Campylobacter is common in dogs, that's not new to us, but an outbreak of human illnesses due to contact with dogs is quite unique," said CDC Veterinarian Dr. Mark Laughlin.
No one has died.
Campylobacter can spread through contact with dog poop. It usually does not spread from one person to another, however, activities such as changing an infected person’s diapers or sexual contact with an infected person can lead to infection, according to the CDC.
LINK: Advice to Veterinarians
The CDC said Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.