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Healthy Pets

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CDC: Take Care Handling Pet Treats

9 Salmonella Cases Confirmed in People Who Handled Treats Containing Meat or Fish
WebMD Pet Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 30, 2006 -- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling pet treats made with meat or fish, the CDC says.

That advice comes after nine people in the U.S. and Canada became ill with salmonella infection linked to treats in 2004-2005.

All nine cases occurred in Washington state and western Canada. The patients developed diarrhea after handling pet treats made from raw beef and salmon. One of the patients -- an 81-year-old woman -- was hospitalized.

The CDC investigated the British Columbia and Washington facilities where the pet treats were made. "No processing step, such as irradiation, that would destroy salmonella and other bacteria was used during the processing" of the treats, the CDC states in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

There may have been "hundreds of other infections" from that particular outbreak that weren't reported, the CDC adds.

4 Tips to Prevent Salmonella Infection

The CDC provides this advice to avoid salmonella infection from pet treats:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling animal-derived pet treats.
  • People at increased risk for infection or serious complications from food poisoning from salmonella (salmonellosis) -- such as children under 5, older adults, and people with weak immune systems -- should avoid contact with animal-derived pet treats.
  • Pet store owners, health care providers, veterinarians, and pet treat manufacturers should provide information to pet owners about the potential health risks of animal-derived pet treats and salmonellosis prevention.
  • Pet treat manufacturers should add a step (such as heat treatment or irradiation) that destroys salmonella and other bacteria during the processing of pet treats and should provide labels containing product information.

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