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From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
November 7, 2012

Notes From the Field: Human Salmonella Infantis Infections Linked to Dry Dog Food—United States and Canada, 2012

JAMA. 2012;308(17):1736. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.10060

MMWR. 2012;23:436.

CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in multiple states, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of human Salmonella Infantis infections linked to direct or indirect contact with dry dog food. Multiple brands of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in Gaston, South Carolina, have been linked to human illnesses.1

On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond brand dry dog food collected during routine retail testing, resulting in a recall of a single product. Public health investigators used PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping network, to identify recent human infections with the same strain of Salmonella found in the dog food sample.

During February 1-May 31, 2012, a total of 22 cases (20 cases in 13 states, and two cases in Canada) of human infections with the outbreak strain were reported. The median patient age was 46.5 years (range: <1-82 years); 68% were female. Thirty-five percent (six of 17) were hospitalized. Epidemiologic investigations found that 83% (15 of 18) reported dog contact, and of the 11 patients who recalled types of dog food, eight reported brands produced by Diamond Pet Foods. The results of further product testing by multiple agencies and the provision of production codes by ill persons led to expansion of recalled products to include 17 brands, representing approximately 30,000 tons of dry dog and cat food produced at the implicated production facility. Pet illnesses associated with recalled products have been reported to FDA's pet food complaint system2; as of May 31, 2012, the outbreak strain was isolated from one ill dog and one asymptomatic dog in Ohio, both of which had consumed recalled products.

This is the second documented outbreak of human salmonellosis linked to dry pet food in the United States.3 Persons should be aware that dry dog and cat food can be contaminated with Salmonella and should not be handled or stored in areas where human food is prepared or consumed. Washing hands is the most important step to prevent illness, especially right after handling pet food and treats or cleaning up after pets.4

Reported by:

Public Health Agency of Canada. April Hunt, JD, Michigan Dept of Agriculture and Rural Development; Susan R. Bohm, MS, Sally A. Bidol, MPH, Michigan Dept of Community Health. Maya Achen, DVM, Jing Cui, DVM, Ohio Dept of Agriculture; Lynn Denny, MPH, Eric Brandt, Ohio Dept of Health. Sam Davis, South Carolina Dept of Agriculture. Dillard Woody, Renate Reimschuessel, VMD, PhD, Center for Veterinary Medicine; Carla Tuite, David Rotstein, DVM, Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network, Food and Drug Administration. Colin Schwensohn, MPH, Casey Barton Behravesh, DVM, DrPH, Div of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases; Maho Imanishi, VMD, EIS Officer, CDC. Corresponding contributor: Maho Imanishi, hwl2@cdc.gov, 404-718-4689.

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