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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Dry Dog Food
Date:5/15/2008

70 people, many of them young children, were sickened after handling the food, CDC says

THURSDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- An outbreak of Salmonella infections in people has been traced to contaminated dry dog food, the first time such a link has been uncovered, U.S. officials said Thursday.

And, Salmonella infections from dry dog food may be an under-recognized source of illness in people, especially young children, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"This is the first time human illness has been linked to dry dog food," said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, who co-authored a report on the finding.

The CDC isn't sure how the Salmonella bacteria got into the dog food, Barton Behravesh said. "There are a number of possible ways that that could happen, and that's something we are still trying to figure out," she said, adding that there have been previous cases of people contracting Salmonella infection from contaminated pet treats.

The incidents of people becoming infected with Salmonella from dry dog food occurred in 2006 and 2007. An estimated 70 people, mostly in the Northeast, were infected by dog food produced by Mars Petcare at its Pennsylvania plant. About 40 percent of those infections involved infants, according to the report, published in the May 16 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Most of the cases occurred in Pennsylvania (29), New York (nine) and Ohio (seven). There were also reported cases in Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia.

Among the 61 people whose ages were available, the median age was 3 years, and 24 were less than 1 year old. Of the 38 people for whom clinical information was available, 15 (39 percent) had bloody diarrhea. For the 45 persons whose hospitalization status was known, 11 (24 percent)
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