27 kids in 154 Salmonella cases related to pig ear dog chews 2015-2019

Many of the Salmonella infections proved resistant to multiple antibacterial drugs. Although recalls and public attention to these Salmonella cases swelled in 2019, the researchers traced the outbreak to 2015.

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Researchers with United States government agencies traced the history and outcomes of the Salmonella outbreak associated with pig ear dog chews that peaked in 2018 and 2019. The scientists identified infections in 34 states, involving 154 humans. Twenty-seven of these patients (20%) were children under 5 years old infected with Salmonella. Thirty-five (26%) of 133 patients with information available had to be hospitalized. Six of those hospitalized patients were under 5 years old, and six were more than 65 years old. No people were reported to have passed away in the outbreak. Many of the Salmonella infections proved resistant to multiple antibacterial drugs.

“This was the first documented United States multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to pig ear pet treats,”  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published their analysis of the Salmonella outbreak in the Lancet. “This multidrug-resistant outbreak highlights the interconnectedness of human health and companion animal ownership and the need for zoonotic pathogen surveillance to prevent human illness resulting from internationally transported pet food products.”

Although recalls and public attention to these Salmonella cases swelled in 2019, the researchers traced the outbreak to 2015. Dates ranged from June 10, 2015 to September 15, 2019. However, 94% of cases (145/154) occurred during 2018 or 2019. Most patients, 107 of 122 (88%), reported contact with dogs before getting sick, if information was available. Similarly, 65 of 97 (67%) reported handling pig ear dog treats before becoming ill.

Timeline of pig ear dog chew recall coverage

July 5, 2019 - Pet Supplies Plus recalls pig ear dog chew for Salmonella

    Pet Supplies Plus recalled bulk pig ear products supplied to all locations by several different vendors due to the potential of Salmonella contamination.

July 23, 2019 - 93 Salmonella cases likely caused by pig ear dog treats

    CDC officials stated that the likely sources of the bacteria were pig ear dog treats. Officials have not identified a common supplier.

July 30, 2019 - Lennox recalls pig ear dog treats for Salmonella

    Public health officials in the United States investigated 93 cases of Salmonella infection in humans, as of July 17, which pig ear dog treats may have spread.

July 31, 2019 - FDA, CDC recommend no pig ear dog chew use in US

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that people neither buy nor use all pig ear pet treats in the United States.

August 19, 2019 - Dog Goods recalls pig ear dog chews for Salmonella

    Dog Goods USA LLC recalled Chef Toby Pig Ears Treats because of possible Salmonella contamination, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

August 28, 2019 - Brutus & Barnaby recalls pig ear dog chews for Salmonella

    Bags of our Pig Ears were distributed throughout all states via Amazon.com, Chewy.com, Brutusandbarnaby.com and the brick-and-mortar Natures Food Patch in Clearwater, Florida.

September 9, 2019 - Dog Goods expands pig ear dog treat recall for Salmonella

    This recall was expanded after Rhode Island Department of Health testing found Salmonella in Berkley and Jensen brand pig ear pet treats.

Source of pig ear dog chew Salmonella outbreak

While the Salmonella infections occurred in 34 states, the source seems to be pig ears imported from Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, although not all pig ears correlated to infections came from these countries. Mingling in bulk bins can make determining the products' origins difficult, stated FDA officials. On August 22, the FDA updated their warning about the Salmonella-contaminated pig ear dog chews, Import Alert 72-03. The document named three firms that presented for import bulk orders of pig ears that tested positive for Salmonella: Custom Pet S.A.S (Colombia), Suarko SRL (Argentina) and Anabe Industria e Comercio de Proteinas (Brazil). 


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