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Tainted Dog Food, Human Salmonella Outbreak

By Daniel J. DeNoon

Salmonella-tainted Diamond brand dog food is behind an ongoing salmonella outbreak in humans.

So far 14 people in nine states have been sickened with the same strain of salmonella — Salmonella Infantis — found in unopened bags of Diamond brand dry dog food.

There have been no deaths, although at least five of the people were hospitalized. The first illness was on Oct. 8, 2011; the most recent was reported last month, on April 22.

Illnesses have been reported in Alabama (1 case), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1).

Diamond so far has issued three recalls of various dry dog and puppy food products. All of the products came from the same facility in South Carolina.

Of 10 ill people interviewed, seven reported contact with dogs. Of the five ill people who recalled being in contact with a specific type of dog food, four said they’d used Diamond brands.

The CDC recommends that people check their homes for recalled dog food products and discard them promptly. People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health care providers.

This isn’t the first time dry pet food has caused a salmonella outbreak. From January 2006 through December 2007, 70 people in 19 states were sickened by various brands of dog food from the same manufacturer.

The unusually long outbreak was due in part to the long shelf life of dry pet food products.

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