The Salmonella tainted dog food outbreak continues to spread with 22 cases reported, to date.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 22 sickened span 13 states and Canada and all were sickened from multiple brands of Salmonella-tainted dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods, said NPR. Of those sickened, six people have required hospitalization.
The CDC believes that people are becoming ill by touching the contaminated pet food, touching a sick dog, or handling the dog’s waste, said NPR. “Salmonella germs are transmitted from animals to humans and humans to humans by the fecal oral route,” says CDC’s web page on the Salmonella outbreak. NPR notes that the pathogen can be found in a pet’s stools for four to six months following the infection.
The outbreak, said the CDC, has sickened people from as young as in infancy to those in their 80s. The median age is 46.5 years, said NPR; 67% of those who have fallen ill are women. As we’ve written, two pet illnesses and one pet death have also been linked to Diamond Pet Foods.
The recall began with one batch of Diamond Pet Foods; Diamond manufactures Diamond, Premium Edge, Kirkland Signature, and a number of other pet food brands. Recalls have been expanded eight times and include dry cat and dog food contaminated with the Salmonella pathogen. At least one lawsuit has been. A federal lawsuit claims that a baby became infected with the Salmonella pathogen from the tainted Diamond Pet Foods dog foods.
Salmonella can affect animals and there is also a risk to people who handle Salmonella-contaminated pet products. People handling the treats can become infected with Salmonella. Consumers should dispose of the recalled pet food safely by securing the food in a covered trash receptacle to ensure other animals and wildlife cannot access the tainted product.
Healthy people infected with salmonellosis should monitor themselves for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever.
Pets suffering from Salmonella infections may suffer from lethargy, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain. Sometimes pets can appear healthy, but can still carry and pass the illness.
Following a one-week inspection by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) at the Diamond Pet Foods’ Gaston, South Carolina plant, the agency faulted Diamond for not releasing adequate information on the recalls and revealed a number of violations at the Gaston facility. “All reasonable precautions are not taken to ensure that production procedures to not contribute contamination from any source,” said the FDA report, which also stated that the facility’s screening process for potential contaminant is inadequate. The investigation also revealed factory workers handling sensitive equipment with bare hands; insufficient hand-washing stations throughout the plant, even in where raw meat was handled; and damaged equipment, with holes and cuts, which would make the tools difficult to clean properly, were used.