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Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Dry Dog Food Continues
Date:11/6/2008

recent increase in cases. As of Oct. 1, the plant was permanently closed," she said.

Barton Behravesh said people should check their dry pet food to see if it was made by Mars Petcare U.S. If it was, they should check the company's Web site to see if their food was part of the recall.

There's a good chance more cases will occur, Barton Behravesh said.

Young children are particularly vulnerable, because they're more likely to get sick from small doses of salmonella, Barton Behravesh said. The primary cause of infection was feeding a pet in the kitchen, she said.

Barton Behravesh noted that no animals have gotten sick during the outbreak. "However, we did find this germ in stool samples from some pets in case households," she said. "That shows that a perfectly happy, healthy pet could be shedding this germ from contaminated food. That could also lead to some routes of contamination in the household," she said.

Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean and Distinguished Service Professor of the Graduate Program in Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., thinks there will be more outbreaks of salmonella from contaminated pet food.

"Human salmonella infections associated with dry pet foods are likely to be a continuing problem in the United States," he said. "Fortunately, the annual number of such cases has been small."

People can take a few simple steps to protect themselves from salmonella infection from pet food, Imperato said.

"These include regular washing of pet feeding bowls to prevent bacterial growth; the thorough washing of hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after handling dry pet foods, including pet treats; and scrupulously avoiding contact between dry pet foods and foods consumed by humans and food preparation surfaces and utensils," he said.

Infection with the salmonella bacteria produces an illness called salmonellosis. According to
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