YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Centers for Disease Control is investigating a salmonella outbreak they say is linked to pig ear dog treats.
Forty-five people in 13 states have gotten sick, 12 were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
So far, two cases were reported in Pennsylvania and none in Ohio. Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks, according to the CDC.
A majority of those sickened reported contact with a dog before getting sick. Another 24 patients were also interviewed and of those, 71 percent reported contact with pig ear dog treats.
A common supplier of pig ear treats in this outbreak has not been identified, but several have been tested.
Investigators from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development gathered pig ear dog treats at retail locations where ill people reported buying them. The treats were sampled and while the strain for this specific outbreak was not identified, other strains of salmonella were.
The investigation is ongoing. In the meantime, pet owners can take steps to keep their families healthy while feeding pets: (Source: CDC)
- Tips to stay healthy while feeding your dog
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling pet food or treats, including pig ears.
- 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.
- Play safely
- 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.
- If you do play with your pet after it has just eaten, wash your hands and any part of your body it licked with soap and water.
- Shop safely
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching unpackaged pet treats, such as food or treats in bulk bins.
- Take extra care around young children
- Children younger than 5 years old should not touch or eat pet food or treats.
- Young children are at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths.
- Adults should supervise handwashing for young children
- How do I know if my dog has Salmonella infection?
- Some dogs may have Salmonella infection but may not look sick. Dogs with a Salmonella infection usually have diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus. Affected animals may seem more tired than usual, and may have a fever or vomit.
- If your dog or cat has these signs of illness or you are concerned that your pet may have Salmonellainfection, please contact your pet’s veterinarian.