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

More Than 100 People Infected by Pet-Store Puppies: CDC

Pet store puppies have spread an antibiotic-resistant illness to over 100 people, CDC says | Miami Herald

Outbreak isolates were resistant by antibiotic susceptibility testing to all antibiotics commonly used to treat Campylobacter infections, including macrolides and quinolones.

"Implementation of antibiotic stewardship principles and practices in the commercial dog industry is needed", they concluded bluntly.

According to the CDC, Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million diarrheal illnesses in the United States each year.

From January 2016 through February 2018, 118 people, including 29 pet store employees, were infected.

No deaths have occurred but 26 people have been hospitalized. Officials collected further survey data to ask about exposures, getting good data from 106 of the 118 cases.

Of the patients interviewed by the CDC, the overwhelming majority - 99% - reported direct contact with a dog, and 95% said the dog they'd touched was a pet store puppy. This approach to antibiotics is unsafe because each use of these drugs increases the chances of the emergence of resistant bacteria. In all cases the doctors were able to detect the pathogen - bacteria of the genus Campylobacter (Campylobacter), which usually enter the body with poorly processed chicken meat. Additionally, almost 40 percent (54 puppies) got antibiotics for prophylaxis and treatments for actual infections. More than half of those (78 puppies, or 55 percent) got those antibiotics for prophylaxis purposes only-meaning they weren't sick and were given the drugs merely as a precaution to prevent them from becoming sick. States reporting illness were Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The investigation of the outbreak began in August of previous year after the Florida Department of Health notified the CDC of campylobacteriosis infections that stemmed from a pet store chain in Ohio. Whole genome sequencing analyses linked Campylobacter isolates in 45 of the human samples to those in 11 of the puppy samples.

Those infected from the puppies appeared to have a form of Campylobacter that was resistant to all antibiotics usually used to stop the illness. All of them were resistant to at least seven antibiotics (azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, erythromycin, nalidixic acid, telithromycin, and tetracycline).

The CDC is working with veterinarian associations and the commercial dog industry to make changes, said senior study author Mark Laughlin, a veterinarian with the CDC's division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases.

The investigation began in August 2017, when the Florida Department of Health notified the CDC of six Campylobacter infections linked to a national pet store chain based in Ohio.

Pet vaccinations are widely considered a public health success, just as it has been with people. That includes using antibiotics responsibly, educating pet store employees and customers on best hygiene practices, and housing puppies during breeding, transport, and distribution in a manner that reduces transmission risks.

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