The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning dog owners to beware of the kind of dog treats they’re giving their pets, as the agency investigates a salmonella outbreak spanning 13 states.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration announced the investigation on Wednesday, singling out pig ear dog treats as the common source of contact for the salmonella infection.
Authorities say that 45 people from California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin have been infected with the salmonella bacteria, 12 of which were hospitalized.
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Of the 38 infected people interviewed by the CDC, 34 said they had come into contact with a dog prior to contracting the illness. 17 out of 24 people said that they came into contact with pig ear dog treats or dogs that had been given the treats, the health agency reports.
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Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has taken samples of the dog treats in question and identified some strains of the salmonella bacteria, however, officials from the health department say it is still unclear if those particular strains are responsible for causing the outbreak.
Humans typically contract salmonella from contact with contaminated food or water and it affects the intestinal tract, causing symptoms ranging from severe stomach pain and cramps to a fever.
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The CDC suggests that people wash their hands after coming into contact with pet food and treats, as well as avoiding contact with their pet’s mouths.
The health agency reports that salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses, with 23,000 requiring hospitalization.