13 Florida cases: CDC warns of bacterial-illness outbreak linked to pet-store puppies

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Centers for Disease Control has linked 55 cases of an antibiotic-resistant bacterial illness to puppies sold through national pet store chain Petland. 13 of the cases are reported in Florida.

There are three Petland locations in the Tampa Bay area.

Campylobacteriosis causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. The CDC says that Campylobacter can spread through contact with dog poop (feces). It usually does not spread from one person to another, however, activities such as changing an infected person’s diapers or sexual contact with an infected person can lead to infection. Most infected people show symptoms within two to five days of exposure. While the illness usually clears on its own, it occassionally spreads to the bloodstream, and can cause a serious, life-threatening infection.

According to the CDC:

  • 14 of those infected are Petland employees from five states
  • 35 people either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began.
  • 1 person had sexual contact with a person with a confirmed illness linked to Petland.
  • 4 people were exposed to puppies from various sources.
  • 1 person had unknown puppy exposure.

The CDC says if you believe you’ve been infected, contact your doctor immediately.

You can read the full CDC outbreak advisory at this link.

Petland is cooperating with the CDC investigation. Petland is the defendant in a pending federal court class action lawsuit that alleges racketeering and knowingly selling sick puppies. In Lakeland, a Petland was permanently closed in 2015 after the owner and veterinarian husband were arrested and charged with falsifying pets’ health records.

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