Pet store puppies could be making people ill, CDC says

Puppies in pet stores are cute, barking and wagging their tails as customers debate on buying the furry creatures.

But in a news release by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some puppies are linked to an outbreak of infection across 13 states that has sickened 30 people.

A strain of Campylobacter jejuni has been reported in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming, according to the CDC. Minnesota has reported the most cases with six, followed by five in Ohio.

Four people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported, the CDC said in its release. People infected ranged in age from 8 months to 70 years old, the CDC said.

"Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that puppies purchased from pet stores, are the likely source of this outbreak. the CDC said in its release.

The CDC has not yet identified one common supplier of puppies.

Among the 24 people interviewed by the CDC, 21 reported having contact with a puppy. Fifteen of those 21 people said they made contact with a puppy at a pet store. The CDC added that 12 of the 15 were linked to Petland, while five of the 12 were Petland employees.

To avoid the possibility of Campylobacter germs, the CDC advises that people should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching a puppy or dog. Adults should supervise children when they wash their hands, the CDC said. If soap and water is not available, hand sanitizers can be a temporary solution.

The CDC also recommends people to wash their hands after cleaning up urine, feces or vomit from a puppy or dog. The center also cautions against allowing the animals to lick people around their mouths, faces or around open wounds and areas with broken skin.

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