Babies Are Contracting Salmonella After Handling Pet Food, FDA Warns

FRIDAY, Nov. 10, 2023 (Healthday News) -- Two federal health agencies are investigating a salmonella outbreak linked to dog food that has sickened seven people in seven states, nearly all of them infants.

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of Victor Hi-Pro Plus dry dog food, a brand tied to the outbreak, while the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention also issued a health alert advising people what to do to avoid infection.

Included in the recall are several other brands of dry dog and cat food sold by the maker of Hi-Pro Plus, Mid America Pet Food.

The company has voluntarily recalled all the pet food brands it manufactured with a best by date before 10/31/2024, which include Victor, Eagle Mountain, Wayne Feeds and two varieties of Member’s Mark pet foods. These products include both dog and cat foods and were sold in retail stores and online, the FDA said.

Six of the seven salmonella cases involved children aged 1 or younger, the FDA noted. Five of the cases reported exposure to dogs and three reported feeding Victor pet food to their pets. One person was hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

According to the CDC alert, those who have fallen ill were infected by touching contaminated dog food and dog bowls, or by touching the poop or saliva of dogs that were fed contaminated dog food. The strain involved in the outbreak, Salmonella kiambu, was discovered in the pet foods during routine testing, the CDC said.

To avoid infection, the CDC recommended that pet owners place the recalled pet food in a sealed trash bag before throwing it out, to avoid wildlife getting infected with the bacteria. Pet owners should also clean any and all surfaces that may have come into contact with the pet food.

Individuals should call their doctor if they start experiencing symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, the CDC added.

According to the CDC, salmonella bacteria infects 1.35 million Americans each year, mostly through consuming contaminated food or water. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.

Though symptoms tend to resolve on their own, over 26,000 cases lead to hospitalization nationwide each year.

Infants are more likely to develop a severe salmonella infection because their immune systems are still developing, the CDC noted.

More information

Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a full list of the products included in the recall.

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, Nov. 9, 2023; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health alert, Nov. 9, 2023

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