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Last updated January 1, 2014

Humans May Contract Salmonella From Pet Treats

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology, October 15, 2003


Pet treats containing dried beef may be contaminated with the foodborne pathogen, Salmonella enterica, and could infect humans say researchers from Canada and Nebraska. Their findings appear in the October 2003 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

In the study, strains of S. enterica were collected from five Canadian patients suffering from salmonella infections and compared to a strain isolated from a commercial pet treat found on the property of one of the patients. The human and pet treat salmonella were found to be "highly related," suggesting that the patients may have contracted an infection when handing their pet a treat.

"This study is the first to implicate the transfer of multidrug-resistant Salmonella species through the handling of commercial pet treats containing animal products," say the researchers. "Therefore, the association between animals, humans, and the handling of pet treats containing animal products, which are available in pet shops and retail stores, could play a role in the increasing prevalence of AmpC-producing S. enterica stereotype Newport infections observed in the United States and Alberta."

(J.D.D. Pitout, M.D. Reisbig, M. Mulvey, L. Chui, M. Louie, L. Crowe, D.L. Church, S. Elsayed, D. Gregson, R. Ahmed, P. Tilley, N. Hanson. 2003. Association between handling of pet treats and infection with Salmonella enterica serotype newport expressing the AmpC B-Lactamase, CMY-2. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 41. 10: 4578-4582.)

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