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Eight people are sick and one has died after coming into contact with dog treats.
Public health officials are warning Canadians that an outbreak of Salmonella in humans may be linked to a particular brand of pig ear dog treats.
The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a public health alert on September 29, saying it was working with provincial and territorial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections occurring in British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon.
Based on the results of the investigation to date, exposure to pig ear dog treats has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Some of the people who got sick reported feeding their dog Paws Up! and the Western Family brands of pig ear dog treats before their illness strikes. These brands are sold at Canadian Tire and Save-On-Foods.
On September 29, 2020, the supplier company, Masters Best Friend, voluntarily issued a stop-sale notice for Paws Up! and the Western Family brands of pig ear dog treats. These products were sold nationwide.
So far, eight cases of Salmonella are linked to the epidemic. Three people were hospitalized and one person died. People became ill between late February and early August 2020, and five of the cases were in British Columbia.
Although the products are no longer available for purchase in stores, they may still be in consumers’ homes. In view of this, do not feed your dog Paws Up! or Western Family brand dog treats. Always wash your hands immediately after handling dog treats and make sure that all areas that the treats have come in contact with are properly cleaned and sanitized.
This outbreak serves as a reminder of the importance of safely handling all pet treats, including pig ears and animal feed. These products can be contaminated with bacteria which can make you and others sick if proper handling and cleaning practices are not followed. If they are contaminated, treats and pet food can also make your pets sick. Sick animals can spread bacteria, such as Salmonella, to people with whom they are in contact even if they have no signs of illness.
The investigation into the epidemic is ongoing and it is possible that other products will be identified.
NEW EPIDEMIC: There are 8 cases of # Salmonella Typhimurium disease associated with contact with pig ear dog treats. Three people were hospitalized and one person died. Don’t Feed Your Dog With Paws Up! or brands of the Western family of pig ear dog treats. https://t.co/ENXHuwSRfV pic.twitter.com/KwJAWrkQhB
– Health Canada and PHAC (@GovCanHealth) September 30, 2020
While anyone can get sick Salmonella infection, children 5 years of age and under, the elderly, pregnant women, or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness.
Most people who get sick Salmonella the infection will recover completely after a few days. Some people may be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or have no symptoms, but still be able to pass the infection on to others.
Symptoms of a Salmonella the infection, called salmonellosis, usually begins six to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal, person or contaminated product.
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These symptoms usually last four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often goes away without treatment. With this in mind, in some cases serious illness and hospitalization may occur. In some cases, antibiotics may be needed. People who have symptoms or have underlying health conditions should contact their health care provider if they suspect Salmonella infection.