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Outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Infantis infection in humans linked to dry dog food in the United States and Canada, 2012

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  • 1 Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 2 Office of Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network, FDA, College Park, MD 20740.
  • | 3 Office of Research, Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, Laurel, MD 20708.
  • | 4 Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 5 Division of Compliance, Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, Rockville, MD 20855.
  • | 6 South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Columbia, SC 29211.
  • | 7 Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Lansing, MI 48933.
  • | 8 Communicable Disease Division, Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing, MI 48933.
  • | 9 Consumer Protection Laboratory, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.
  • | 10 Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.
  • | 11 Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.
  • | 12 Bureau of Infectious Diseases, Ohio Department of Health, Columbus, OH 43215.
  • | 13 Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, Connecticut Department of Public Health, Hartford, CT 06134.
  • | 14 Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 15 Office of Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network, FDA, College Park, MD 20740.
  • | 16 Outbreak Management Division, Centre for Food-borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Public Health Agency of Canada, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.
  • | 17 Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA 30333.

Abstract

Case Description—In April 2012, Salmonella enterica serotype Infantis was detected in an unopened bag of dry dog food collected during routine retail surveillance. PulseNet, a national bacterial subtyping network, identified humans with Salmonella Infantis infection with the same genetic fingerprint as the dog food sample.

Clinical Findings—An outbreak investigation identified 53 ill humans infected with the outbreak strain during January 1 to July 5, 2012, in 21 states and 2 provinces in Canada; 20 (38%) were children ≤ 2 years old, and 12 of 37 (32%) were hospitalized. Of 21 ill people who remembered the dog food brand, 12 (57%) reported a brand produced at a plant in Gaston, SC. Traceback investigations also identified that plant. The outbreak strain was isolated from bags of dry dog food and fecal specimens obtained from dogs that lived with ill people and that ate the implicated dry dog food.

Treatment and Outcome—The plant was closed temporarily for cleaning and disinfection. Sixteen brands involving > 27,000 metric tons (> 30,000 tons) of dry dog and cat food were recalled. Thirty-one ill dogs linked to recalled products were reported through the FDA consumer complaint system.

Clinical Relevance—A one-health collaborative effort on epidemiological, laboratory, and traceback investigations linked dry dog foods produced at a plant to illnesses in dogs and humans. More efforts are needed to increase awareness among pet owners, health-care professionals, and the pet food industry on the risk of illness in pets and their owners associated with dry pet foods and treats.

Abstract

Case Description—In April 2012, Salmonella enterica serotype Infantis was detected in an unopened bag of dry dog food collected during routine retail surveillance. PulseNet, a national bacterial subtyping network, identified humans with Salmonella Infantis infection with the same genetic fingerprint as the dog food sample.

Clinical Findings—An outbreak investigation identified 53 ill humans infected with the outbreak strain during January 1 to July 5, 2012, in 21 states and 2 provinces in Canada; 20 (38%) were children ≤ 2 years old, and 12 of 37 (32%) were hospitalized. Of 21 ill people who remembered the dog food brand, 12 (57%) reported a brand produced at a plant in Gaston, SC. Traceback investigations also identified that plant. The outbreak strain was isolated from bags of dry dog food and fecal specimens obtained from dogs that lived with ill people and that ate the implicated dry dog food.

Treatment and Outcome—The plant was closed temporarily for cleaning and disinfection. Sixteen brands involving > 27,000 metric tons (> 30,000 tons) of dry dog and cat food were recalled. Thirty-one ill dogs linked to recalled products were reported through the FDA consumer complaint system.

Clinical Relevance—A one-health collaborative effort on epidemiological, laboratory, and traceback investigations linked dry dog foods produced at a plant to illnesses in dogs and humans. More efforts are needed to increase awareness among pet owners, health-care professionals, and the pet food industry on the risk of illness in pets and their owners associated with dry pet foods and treats.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Rotstein's present address is Division of Compliance, Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, Rockville, MD 20855.

Dr. Achen's present address is Division of Microbiology, Abbott Nutrition, 3300 Stelzer Rd, Columbus, OH 43219.

The authors thank Beverly Billard, Annamaria Castiglia, Geneviève Côté, Kathryn Dalton, April Hodges, Kari Irvin, Marie-Andrée Leblanc, Sherri McGarry, Sarah Nemser, Johnson Nsubuga, Brittany Orlando, Anne Parkinson, Jeshua Pringle, Cassan Pulaski, Marianne Ross, and Stelios Viazis for technical assistance.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the CDC or other represented agencies.

Address correspondence to Dr. Barton Behravesh (CBartonBehravesh@cdc.gov).