The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that dog food Salmonella has sickened 49 people in the United States and Canada, with the majority—47—in the U.S.
The outbreak is linked to contaminated dry dog food and involves the rare Salmonella Infantis, said NBCNews.com. The outbreak, which began in early April, appears to have run its course, said the CDC. Of those patients for which there is available information, 24 in all, 10 people required hospitalization. No deaths have been reported, to date.
The sicknesses were linked to dry dog food manufactured by Diamond Pet Food Processors at its Gaston, South Carolina plant. As we’ve explained, the contamination involved multiple brands of Salmonella-tainted dry dog food produced by 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 brands. Recalls were expanded eight times and include dry cat and dog food contaminated. At least one lawsuit has been filed; a federal lawsuit claims that a baby became infected with the Salmonella pathogen from the tainted Diamond Pet Foods dog foods.
The CDC previously said it believes that people became ill by touching the contaminated pet food, touching a sick pet, or handling the pet’s waste. “Salmonella germs are transmitted from animals to humans and humans to humans by the fecal oral route,” said CDC’s web page on the Salmonella outbreak. The pathogen can be found in a pet’s stools for four to six months following the infection, NPR noted. At the time of our last report, two pet illnesses and one pet death were linked to Diamond Pet Foods.
The pet food was distributed nationwide, but generally in the U.S. east and south; a number of Canadian provinces; and Puerto Rico. Diamond Pet Food posted specific details at: http://www.diamondpet.com/information/.
As we’ve explained, Salmonella can affect animals and there is a risk to people who handle Salmonella-contaminated pet products. Because people handling the treats can become infected, 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. Infected people should monitor themselves for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea/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 Diamond’s Gaston plant, the agency faulted Diamond for not releasing adequate information on the recalls and revealed various violations at the facility. “All reasonable precautions are not taken to ensure that production procedures to not contribute contamination from any source,” said the FDA report, which stated that the facility’s screening process for potential contaminants is inadequate. The investigation revealed factory workers handling sensitive equipment with bare hands; insufficient hand-washing stations at the plant, even in where raw meat was handled; and damaged equipment, with holes and cuts, which would make tools difficult to clean properly.