August 19, 2018

Handling Pet Food Tainted With Salmonella Can Make People Sick

A number of recent pet food recalls for Salmonella are a good reminder that handling tainted pet food can result in human illness. Although no human illnesses have been reported in association with recently recalled pet food, last year at this time, cases began to mount in a Salmonella outbreak that eventually sickened 47 people in 20 states and two people in Canada. Ten people were hospitalized.

Dog-and-CatThe outbreak was linked to dry dog food made by Diamond Pet Foods.  By state, the case counts were as follows: Alabama (2), Arkansas (2), California (3), Connecticut (2), Georgia (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Missouri (3), New Jersey (2), New York (5), North Carolina (5), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (3), South Carolina (2), Texas (1), and Virginia (2).

Dogs, who can carry Salmonella without appearing to be sick, can easily shed the bacteria and infect family members. Or, the bacteria can spread when tainted food is spilled on the floor or countertop and not cleaned up properly. The best way to avoid illness is to wash hands after feeding your pet and before eating.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually develop within 12 to 72 hours after exposure and last between four and seven days. Some cases, where the infection spreads from the intestines to the blood stream, can be fatal without prompt treatment from antibiotics.

Some current pet food recalls include: Merit bird food, Bravo! frozen pet food and Natura pet food. To see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s list of recent pet food recalls, click here.

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