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Utah among states where CDC has found a puppy disease

File photo: February 11, 2019. The CDC says several people in Utah are showing symptoms of a germ that is typically found in puppies sold at pet stores. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of an infection found in puppies purchased from pet stores.

In a statement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list Utah among the thirteen states where a strain of Campylobacter jejuni has been reported.

Thirty cases of this strain of Campylobacter jejuni  have been reported in 13 states across the United States. The CDC says four people have been hospitalized.

The CDC says they have interviewed at least 24 people who’ve become ill. Of those people, 88% reported contact with a puppy. Others reported contact with a puppy from a pet store, some specifically with Petland, which is a national pet store chain.

Many of the people who’ve become ill have two things in common; namely, they either work at a pet store or have had contact with a puppy from a pet store.

The CDC says that epidemiologic and laboratory evidence shows contact with puppies, especially those at pet stores, is the likely source of this outbreak.

There was a similar outbreak spanning 2016 to 2018. During those years, the CDC says 113 people became sick due to an infection connected to puppies and dogs sold through Petland stores. That outbreak spread to 17 U.S. states and resulted in 23 hospitalizations.

A dog can carry Campylobacter germs even if the dog appears to be healthy.

The CDC recommends those who come in contact with puppies (or their food or waste products) to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Parents should supervise your young children’s handwashing and use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands thoroughly.

Symptoms of Campylobacter infection in people include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 2 to 5 days after exposure. Antibiotics are only needed for people at high risk of severe diseases, such as those with weakened immune systems.