Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control; National Center for Zoonotic, Vectorborne and Enteric Diseases the departments of health in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio conducted two multistate studies to determine the source and mode of infection among those found with the rare strain of salmonella.
Seventy-nine case-patients in 21 states were identified -- 48 percent were children age 2 or younger. No deaths were reported. The households investigated were much more likely than control households to report dog contact and to have recently purchased a manufacturer's brands of dry pet food. Illness among infant patients was significantly associated with feeding pets in the kitchen.
The study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, found the outbreak strain was isolated from opened bags of dry dog food produced at a particular plant identified as "plant X." Researchers matched fecal specimens from dogs that ate the manufacturer's dry dog food. Plant X was permanently closed in 2008.
The researchers say the contamination from the dry pet food may occur after an adult or child feeds a pet and does not wash their hands. They advice keeping pet food and feeding a pet outside the kitchen. The researchers also recommend not bathing an infant in a kitchen sink where pet food bowls are handled.