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Pet Store Puppies Are Spreading A Dangerous Illness, CDC Warns

Courtesy of nWevurski

While I'm against pet stores keeping animals in small cages, it's hard to resist not having a peek at them.

I see young children and their parents cuddling these adorable pups in their arms all the time, and it's tempting to join in, but something tells me I shouldn't.

This little voice inside my head may have saved me from contracting a potentially lethal illness.

The next time you want to pet a puppy from a pet store or adoption center, think twice.

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pet store puppies have already sent more than 100 people to the hospital.

Campylobacter, a potentially dangerous bacteria, causes more than 1.3 million illnesses in the U.S. every year, but now new evidence shows that a large number of people are contracting this illness while petting puppies.

The CDC reports that from January 2017 through February 2018, campylobacter has been spreading from puppies sold at six pet store companies.

And it has reportedly spread to 118 people in 18 states.

It's believed that these pet store employees may have been overtreating the pups with antibiotics to prevent infections, which caused both good and bad bacteria to be killed off.

This allowed campylobacter, which is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, to take over.

"Essentially, it felt like you were dying," Katie Singleton, who worked at the Mall of Georgia Petland, told Channel 2 Action News after she was hospitalized for several days.

What is this illness? Should you be worried?

Campylobacter typically causes bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

People often show symptoms within three to five days of exposure, and while most people are able to fight through the illness, people with weak immune systems and the elderly may die from it.

According to the World Health Organization, campylobacter also has long-term effects, such as hepatitis, pancreatitis, muscle weakness, and neurological disorders.

This bacteria spreads via saliva, so it's best to avoid getting licked by a dog.

This isn't the first time health officials are warning people about the dangers of dog kisses.

Affectionate dog licks make you feel loved, but these sweet kisses may have other potentially deadly consequences.

Last month, a 48-year-old man from Wisconsin had to have four of his limbs removed after he contracted capnocytophaga from his dog's saliva.

This particular bacteria has a range of symptoms, such as fever, diarrhea, and muscle pain.

According to the CDC, other long term effects include gangrene, heart attack, and kidney failure.

[H/T: Metro / AJC]

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Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.