(WFRV) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported 127 cases of multidrug-resistant salmonella infections from 33 states. The FDA is investigating a link between dog pig ear treats and the human cases of salmonella.
Twenty-six people are currently hospitalized, according to the FDA. Twenty-four others who have fallen ill are children younger than five years old.
While no deaths have been reported, the FDA and the CDC continue to investigate these cases.
Some cases have been reportedly traced back to sources in Brazil and Argentina. The FDA is working with distributors to remove pig ear pet treats from the marketplace and identify stores where they may have been delivered.
The FDA and CDC are now strongly recommending pet owners do not purchase or feed their pets any pig ear treats. If you have purchased some pig ear treats already, the ears should be completely wrapped and safely discarded. Wherever the pig ears were stored should be disinfected and cleaned thoroughly.
Approximately 69% of those sick with salmonella report recent contact with pig ear treats and 90% indicated they had made contact with a dog shortly before getting ill.
The FDA reports salmonella can infect not only the animals eating the pig ear treats, but the humans handling contaminated treats. Officials say this is especially true if the human’s hands are not carefully washed after contact.
Symptoms of salmonella in humans are flu-like, says the CDC, and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. These symptoms typically develop 12 to 72 hours after the initial infection.
Once infected, the illness usually lasts between four to seven days. In severe cases, hospitalization may occur.
The CDC says some dogs may not look sick, but still have a salmonella infection. Infected dogs frequently have diarrhea containing mucus or blood. They may also seem more tired than usual, vomit often, or have a fever.
Officials say if your dog is showing symptoms of salmonella infection, you should consult a veterinarian immediately. If you are showing symptoms of an infection, you should also contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Infection can be passed from your pet to you through saliva. If you choose to continue feeding pig ears to your dog, then the FDA says you must practice good hygiene.
For more on this salmonella outbreak, click here.