November 14, 2019

Pig Ear Dog Treats Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 154 Sick

The pig ear dog treats Salmonella outbreak has ended with 154 sick in 34 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both the CDC and FDA have dropped their warning for consumers to avoid buying or feeding any pig ear pet treats, except for those that are already recalled.

Pig Ear Dog Treats Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 154 Sick

The case count by state is: Alabama (1), Arizona (1), California (2), Colorado (3), Connecticut (1), Florida (3), Georgia (3), Hawaii (1), Illinois (10), Indiana (5), Iowa (24), Kansas (3), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (4), Michigan (17), Minnesota (1), Missouri (7), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New York (16), North Carolina (2), North Dakota (1), Ohio (12), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (8), South Carolina (2), Texas (2), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1). Illness onset dates ranged from June 10, 2015 to September 13, 2019. The patient age range was from less than 1 year to 90. Of 133 ill persons who gave information about their illness to the government, 26% were hospitalized.

There were seven serotypes of Salmonella in this outbreak. They are Salmonella Cerro, Derby, London, Infantis, Newport, Rissen, and I 4,[5],12:i:-. PulseNet was used to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. Whole genome sequencing showed that the bacteria taken from ill persons were closely related genetically.

In interviews, patients answered a variety of questions about their possible exposures before they got sick. Most, 84%, said they had contact with a dog before they got sick. Of 94 people with available information, 66% said they had contact with pig ear dog treats or with dogs who were fed those treats. Those proportions were significantly higher than the results from a survey of healthy people who reported contact with dogs or handling dog treats.

Testing of pig ear dog treats found the outbreak strains of Salmonella in 135 samples. Some of the treats were imported from Argentina, Brazil, and Columbia. And some of the product labels stated that the pig ears had been irradiated, which should have killed any Salmonella bacteria. This means that the treats may not have been irradiated, were not effectively irradiated, or that there was another problem that caused the contamination.

No single supplier, distributor, or common brand of pig ear dog treats was identified in this investigation. But several firms did recall the pig ear treats because they were contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. And the FDA did increase their import alert on pig ears imported into the U.S.

This outbreak is a good reminder to handle pet food and pet treats carefully. These products have been contaminated with pathogens in the past. In 2012 there was a Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to dry dog food that sickened 49 people in 20 states. In 2015 there were seven multistate Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks linked to contact with pets. And there have been multiple recalls of frozen raw pet food for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination over the past few years.

Keep children away from dog food, and make sure they wash their hands after petting or playing with pets in your household. Keep pet foods away from food for humans. Wash your hands well after handling pet food, after playing with your pet, and after handling pet waste.

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