May
16
2012

Federal health officials are reporting more human illnesses resulting from contact with dog food contaminated by salmonella.

Health officials originally reported 14 cases of human salmonella when news of salmonella-tainted dog food from Diamond Pet Foods first broke in April.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say two additional people have become ill, bringing the total affected between the United States and Canada to 16.

The two additional cases are from Pennsylvania and Quebec, Canada.

Among the 10 patients with available information, five were hospitalized. However, the CDC says that no deaths have been reported.

From the information available, the CDC says illnesses began between Oct. 8, 2011 and April 16, 2012. Victims of the illness ranged in age from under a year old to 82 years old. Seventy-three percent of patients were female.

The recall began April 6, 2012, when Diamond Pet Foods announced it was recalling certain batches of its dry dog food due to possible salmonella contamination from its Gaston, South Carolina plant.

While the CDC is reporting human cases of salmonella from the dog food, Diamond Pet Foods says no canine illnesses have been reported as a result of the contamination.

Salmonellosis in dogs and cats may be signaled by diarrhea, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, or abdominal pain. However, some dogs and cats may be asymptomatic.

The CDC is asking veterinarians to provide treatment recommendations to clients if their pets are infected with salmonella. The CDC says veterinarians should advise clients against giving away their pet or euthanizing it because of a salmonella infection.

"Be sure to tell the client that salmonella infections are a zoonotic disease meaning that the infection can spread between animals and people," the CDC advised veterinarians online. "Salmonella is transmitted from animals to humans by the fecal oral route. Inform clients of proper hygiene and sanitation precautions to protect themselves and their family as well as any other pets they may have."

Veterinarians who see a sick animal that has clinical signs of salmonellosis and that ate the recalled product should report the case to the Food and Drug Administration. The CDC advises that if the animal is ill and the product has not been recalled, it is very important to report the case to the FDA.

Brands affected by the recall now include:

· Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul

· Country Value

· Diamond

· Diamond Naturals

· Premium Edge

· Professional

· 4Health

· Taste of the Wild

· Apex

· Kirkland Signature/Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain

· Canidae

Reports from Diamond Pet Foods indicated that no canines had become ill as a result of the contamination; however, this only reflects that no canine illnesses have been reported to Diamond Pet Foods. State and federal agencies do not track pet illnesses, so it can be difficult to know when animals get sick from pet foods.

Diamond Pet Foods has a website devoted to maintaining updated information about the food recall.

According to a news article from MSNBC.com, the recall includes the store brand pet food sold by Costco, Kirkland Signature and Kirkland Signature Domain.

Many consumers say they are frustrated with the recalls.

Posting a comment on the MSNBC.com article about the human illnesses, consumer Jay Spadaro said he is upset that he will not receive reimbursement for bills incurred taking his pet to the veterinarian as a result of the contaminated food.

"I am going to battle Costco on this till the end," Spadaro wrote. "The UPC on the bag of food I have matches with the bad batch. They said they will reimburse for the food but not the $350 vet bill! I plan on fighting this!"

Veterinarians and consumers alike may both report cases of animal illness associated with the pet food.

How to report a suspected or confirmed animal salmonella illness:

1. Call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your state.

2. Report electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal.

Reports should include medical information, including a veterinarian’s report, as well as product details such as brand name, production code, expiration date, manufacturer or distributor, and location of purchase.

Read more from the CDC.

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