WEDNESDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- An outbreak of human Salmonella infection, which occurred as far back as 2006, has been traced to contaminated dry dog food, the first time such a link has been uncovered, according to U.S. officials.
And, Salmonella infections in humans from dry dog food may be an under-recognized source of illness in people, especially young children, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Infection with the Salmonella bacteria produces an illness called salmonellosis. According to the CDC, most infected people develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours. The illness typically lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. But, for some, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the infection can spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other parts of the body, leading to death unless antibiotics are administered promptly. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
Salmonella infection typically comes from undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat, but can also result from direct contact with farm animals, reptiles and pets. To prevent infection, the CDC recommends washing your hands immediately after handling the food, including dry dog food.
"The most important thing is to wash your hands right after you handle any dry dog food, any other pet food, pet treats, even supplements or vitamins," Barton Behravesh said. "In addition, keep infants and other young children away from pet food, because kids tend to want to see what their dogs are eating and grab at the pet food and play with it or even put it in their mouth."