November 18, 2019

Pig Ear Salmonella Outbreak Has Sickened 143 People in 35 States

The pig ear Salmonella outbreak has now sickened at least 143 people in 35 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thirty-three people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. People can get sick after handling the treats or caring for or touching the dogs who ate them. Dogs can get sick too. Sixteen ill persons have been added to this investigation after the last update on July 31, 2019.

Pig Ear Salmonella Outbreak Has Sickened 143 People in 35 States

The case count by state is: Alabama (1), Arizona (1), California (1), Colorado (3), Connecticut (1), Florida (3), Georgia (3), Hawaii (1), Illinois (10), Indiana (5), Iowa (23), Kansas (3), Kentucky (6), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (4), Michigan (14), Minnesota (1), Missouri (7), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), New York (16), North Carolina (2), North Dakota (1), Ohio (8), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (7), South Carolina (2), Texas (2), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (4). Illness onset dates range from June 10, 2015 through July 30, 2019. The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 90.

Of 110 people who have reported information to the government, 33, or 30%, have been hospitalized. The typical hospitalization rate for Salmonella outbreaks is 20%. This may be because the bacteria that has sickened people is resistant to antibiotics, or it may be because the treats are so contaminated with the pathogen.

Ninety isolates taken from ill people and pig ears predicted antibiotic resistance or decreased susceptibility to these drugs: clavulanic acid, ampicillin, cefoxitin, ceftriaxone, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that contact with pig ear dog treats ia the likely source of this outbreak. In interviews, 88% of those sickened said they had contact with a dog before they got sick. Of 80 people who gave information, 70% reported contact with pig ears or dogs who were fed pig ear treats.

Officials from Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and the FDA collected pig ears from ill persons’ homes, retail locations where patients said they purchased pig ears, or from supplies and distributors. Lab testing revealed that Salmonella bacteria was found in more than 90  samples. Serotypes of Salmonella that have sickened people include Cerro, Derby, London, Infantis, Newport, Rissen, and I 4,[5],12:i:-. Serotypes of Salmonella found in the pig ears included Salmonella Infantis, London, Newport, Anatum, Brandenburg, Give, Livingstone, Panama, Seftenberg, Typhimurium, Uganda, and Worthington. Officials are investigating to see if any human illnesses are linked to the last nine strains on that list.

The CDC is advising people not to buy or feed ANY pig ear dog treats to their pets, including any that may already be in homes.  Several firms have recalled pig ear treats for possible Salmonella contamination. Those brands and venues are Pet Supplies Plus, Lennox Intl, Brutus & Barnaby, and Dog Goods USA (Chef Toby). Not all of these recalled products are linked to the outbreak, and those recalls do not account for all of the illnesses in this outbreak, according to the CDC. A single suppler, distributor, or common brand of pig ear dog treats responsible for this outbreak has not been identified.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900.

Make sure that children always wash their hands after playing with family pets. Young children should not touch dog food or treats. And always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching unpackaged dog food or treats, including products in bulk bins or on store shelves.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include a fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody. If you have had contact with pig ear treats or dogs that have consumed them, and have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this Salmonella pig ear outbreak.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection in dogs can include tiredness, vomiting, and fever. If your dog has been ill with these symptoms, take him to your vet.

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