The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating after dozens of people across the country have contracted a multidrug-resistant form of salmonella believed to be linked to dog treats.
The CDC reports 45 people in 13 states, including Pennsylvania, have been infected with the bacteria.
No one has died, but 12 people have been hospitalized. Those affected range in age from 1 to 81.
The outbreak has been linked to pig ear dog treats after 38 of the ill people reported contact with a dog before getting sick. In addition, 17 out of 24 people reported contact with pig ear dog treats or with dogs that were fed pig ear dog treats. A specific brand of treats hasn’t yet been identified by the CDC, but the investigation is ongoing.
Nate Wardle, spokesman with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, confirmed there have been two cases in Pennsylvania. He said information on individual cases isn’t available.
Wardle said they are assisting the CDC in its investigation when needed.
“We encourage people to always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling pet food or treats, including pig ears,” he said.
Iowa has the most cases with 12 people affected, followed by Michigan with seven and New York with six people.
The CDC said most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four days to one week.
Most people recover without treatment, but some people may need to be hospitalized. The infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
Children younger than 5 years, pregnant women, adults 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
The CDC recommends the following tips to dog owners:
• Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling pet food or treats both at home and at the store as well as after playing with dogs
• When possible, store pet food and treats away from where human food is stored or prepared and away from the reach of young children
• Don’t use your pet’s feeding bowl to scoop food. Use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon, or cup
• Always follow any storage instructions on pet food bags or containers
• Don’t let your pet lick your mouth or face after it eats pet food or treats
• Don’t let your pet lick any open wounds or areas with broken skin
• Children younger than 5 years old should not touch or eat pet food or treats