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Salmonella Infections Traced to Contact with Pet Treats

Infections in Canada and United States tracked to improper meat-processing procedures

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Nine people in western Canada and Washington State have developed human Salmonella Thompson infections after handling dog treats that were packaged at two facilities in British Columbia and Washington, according to a report in the June 30 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that a 26-year-old Alberta man tested positive for S. Thompson in 2005 after feeding his dog contaminated beef treats packaged by a British Columbia plant.

A British Columbia woman was infected after feeding her dog salmon treats imported from a Washington State plant and distributed by the same British Columbia plant. A third case surfaced in an elderly woman in Washington State who fed her dog treats packaged by the same Washington manufacturing plant. Six more cases surfaced in western Canada and Washington State.

Investigators found meat dehydration temperatures in the two plants insufficient to kill bacteria. The treats were voluntarily recalled. Canadian and U.S. health authorities recommend hand-washing after handling animal pet treats; immunocompromised people should avoid them.

"Pet treat manufacturers, retailers, health care providers, public health authorities, veterinarians and consumers should be aware of the potential for animal-derived pet treats to serve as a source of Salmonella-related illness in humans," the authors write.

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