Jan. 12, 2020—The cutest of culprits—puppies—may be to blame for a multistate outbreak of an infection that's resistant to first-line antibiotics.
This infection typically causes diarrhea (often bloody), fever and stomach cramps. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. In people with a weakened immune system, it can be life threatening.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the infection is being spread by puppies carrying a strain of Campylobacter bacteria. In the current outbreak, most people who got sick had touched puppies in pet stores.
Steps to stay healthy
The good news: Some fairly simple precautions can help keep you—and your family—safe from Campylobacter bacteria and other germs dogs might carry. These safeguards should start even before you bring a furry friend into your home.
If you're adding a dog to your household, pick one that is bright, alert and playful, the CDC advises. Dogs might be ill and could spread dangerous germs if they:
Still, even a dog that appears healthy can spread germs to people and other animals. So after getting a new puppy or dog, be sure to take your pet to the vet for a checkup within a few days of bringing it home.
And whenever a dog is a part of your family, practice these healthy habits:
More ways to avoid Campylobacter
Campylobacter bacteria are also one of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of getting sick from contaminated poultry, produce, or other food and drinks.