Dry dog food is found to be the reason of numerous salmonella infections in US. This is the first time when a human disease is linked to pet food.
According to CDC investigation, cases of salmonella infection in 2006 and 2007 are caused by contaminated dry dog food, but the way the infection got into pet food is unclear.
The dog food contamination cases of were mainly occurring in Northeast: Pennsylvania had (29), New York (9) and Ohio (7). Other cases of salmonella pet food contamination were reported from Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia. All together 70 cases of salmonella infections were reported, 40% of the cases occurred among infants.
Infection was linked to dry dog food produced by Mars Petcare. The company recalled some packs of pet food being contaminated, but non of them were actually carrying an infection leading to human illnesses.
CDC doesn't have detailed information about all of the pet food contamination cases, but among those whose clinical information was available, 39% were suffering from bloody diarrhea, 24% of them were hospitalized. Pet infection cases were not reported, but tests from open and close dog food bags, and from dog feces samples were positive for salmonella.
Health officials are not sure how the bacteria got into dog food, but they mention that if pet food contains animal product, or if pet food was produced in a plant where are being produced any animal products, then pet food can be easily infected.
Salmonella bacteria is leading to a disease called salmonellosis. Main symptoms of the disease are 'diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps'. Most of the cases may recover without treatment, but sometimes diarrhea can be so severe and bloody, that a hospitalization will be necessary. The disease is more dangerous for children and infants. CDC urges everyone to maintain personal hygiene, wash hands carefully every time after dealing with pets and pet food. Parents also need to be extremely watchful to make sure that children don't touch pet food that may be contaminated.