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Friday, May 16, 2008

CDC Report: Salmonella Outbreaks Determined To Be Caused By Dry Dog Food


From January 2006 to December 2007, seventy cases of Salmonella were confirmed in 19 different states, most of which in the northeastern part of the United States. Researches have identified the cause, which turns out to be dry dog food.
Salmonella is a bacteria which causes an infection called Salmonellosis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this infection can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps and lasts approximately 4 to 7 days and although most people recover without treatment, in some cases it is so severe it requires hospitalization and in those cases the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

According to a new report released by the CDC, researchers have, for the first time, been able to find a direct link in the previous outbreak of Salmonella in 19 different states to dry dog food.

The state with the largest number of Salmonella infections was Pennsylvania with 29 cases. That was followed by 9 cases in New York, 7 cases in Ohio.

This report describes the outbreak investigation, which identified the source of infection as dry dog food produced at a manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania. This investigation is the first to identify contaminated dry dog food as a source of human Salmonella infections. After handling pet foods, pet owners should wash their hands immediately, and infants should be kept away from pet feeding areas.

One of the authors of this report, Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, who is a CDC epidemiologist, says, "This is the first time human illness has been linked to dry dog food."

The CDC has also not determined how the Salmonella bacteria entered into the pet food, adding, "There are a number of possible ways that that could happen, and that's something we are still trying to figure out."

What they have determined is that there are two known brands of dog food identified only as Brand A and Brand B and they were manufactured at one plant in Pennsylvania which the report refers to as Plant A.

During 2007, plant A produced approximately 25 brands of dry pet food; specific distribution information for brands produced in plant A was not available. Plant A labeled these dry pet foods with a 1-year shelf life (i.e., sell-by date). On July 12, 2007, PADOH staff members visited plant A and collected 144 swabs of specimens from environmental surfaces; the outbreak strain of S. Schwarzengrund was isolated from one sample. FDA tested previously unopened bags of seven brands (brands E, F, G, H, I, J, and K) of dry dog food produced at plant A. Two brands of dry dog food (E and F) yielded the outbreak strain of S. Schwarzengrund. On August 21, 2007, manufacturer A announced a voluntary recall of 50-pound bags of brand E dry dog food and 5-pound bags of brand F dry dog food. On July 26, 2007, manufacturer A suspended operations at plant A for cleaning and disinfection. In mid-November 2007, plant A resumed normal operations.

No illnesses have been reported in the animals that ate the food and no deaths have been reported in the humans that became infected.