May 15, 2008 -- At least 70 people in 19 states were sickened by salmonella in dry dog food from 2006 to 2007, the CDC says.
Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, and abdominal cramps. Most people recover within a week without treatment, but some cases can be severe. Infants, elders, and people with weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable.
WebMD reported on the pet food salmonella outbreak in August 2007. Now the CDC has wrapped up its investigation of the outbreak.
The CDC traced the salmonella back to a pet food plant in Pennsylvania, which shut down from July to November 2007 for cleaning and disinfection. Because most cases of salmonella don't get reported to health officials, the outbreak was "likely larger than the 70 laboratory-confirmed cases identified," states the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The CDC provides these hygiene tips for handling pet food:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap immediately after handling dry pet foods, pet treats, and pet supplements, and before preparing food and eating.
- Keep infants away from pet feeding areas.
- Don't let kids younger than 5 touch or eat pet food, pet treats, or pet supplements.