Drug-resistant infection in 118 people linked to pet store puppies — CDC

Henrietta Strickland
September 24, 2018

According to STAT, more than 100 people contracted an antibiotic-resistant diarrheal disease after they came into contact with pet store puppies. By February 2018, the CDC discovered that more than 118 people in 18 states had been infected with the same thing: a bacteria called Campylobacter that's usually linked to eating raw chicken or food contaminated by chicken juices.

"Implementation of antibiotic stewardship principles and practices in the commercial dog industry is needed", they concluded bluntly. The stores weren't named in the CDC report, though Petland had been named previously, when the outbreak was first reported previous year.

That could be because a majority of the dogs were given antibiotics, causing the bacteria to develop a resistance to the drugs. No one died, but 26 people were hospitalized, according to the Centers for control and prevention of diseases of the United States.It all started in August 2017; then in Florida in the hospital has treated six people with the same symptoms: fever, nausea, bloody stools and severe diarrhea.

Over-prescription of antibiotics (in humans and in other species) is a key factor driving antibiotic resistance. Additionally, almost 40 percent (54 puppies) got antibiotics for prophylaxis and treatments for actual infections.

And of those puppies, around half had been given antibiotics as a preventive measure instead of when they were sick, the CDC found.

Pet stores had given the puppies a wide range of antibiotics, noting 16 different drugs, which included ones from the same classes of antibiotics used to treat Campylobacter infections in humans.

The CDC examined whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data and identified 6 isolates from company A puppies in Florida that were highly related to an isolate from a company A customer in Ohio. All of them were resistant to at least seven antibiotics (azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, erythromycin, nalidixic acid, telithromycin, and tetracycline).

The infection was traced back to 25 breeders and eight distributors. Instead, the puppies seemed to swap infectious germs throughout the breeding, distribution, and transport processes of the commercial dog industry.

"At Petland, all decisions relating to the use of antibiotics is determined by each of our store's independent, licensed, consulting veterinarians who are responsible for examining each of our puppies and determining any medical treatment", Kunzelman said.

"Although the investigation is completed", the officials write, "the risk for multidrug-resistant Campylobacter transmission to employees and consumers continues".

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