Multi-state outbreak of human Salmonella Infantis infections linked to Diamond pet foods

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 14 individuals in 9 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis linked to dog food.

The CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an ongoing multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Infantis infections.

Multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in Gaston, South Carolina have been linked to some of the human Salmonella infections; the same plant that suspended production almost 4 weeks ago.

Since April 6, 2012, Diamond Pet Foods voluntarily recalled three dry dog food products:

DNA fingerprints of Salmonella

Public health investigators used DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.

Multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina have been linked to some of the human Salmonella infections. People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health care providers.

Multistate outbreak

A total of 14 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 9 states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1).

Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began between October 8, 2011 and April 22, 2012. Ill persons range in age from less than one year old to 82 years old and the median age is 48 years. Seventy-seven percent of patients are female. Among the 9 patients with available information, 5 (56%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Investigation of the outbreak

On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food. Public health investigators used PulseNet to identify recent cases of human illness with a PFGE pattern indistinguishable from Salmonella Infantis which was isolated from the unopened bag of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods.

In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Seven of 10 (70%) ill persons interviewed reported contact with a dog in the week before becoming ill. Of 5 ill persons who could recall the type of dog food with which they had contact, 4 (80%) identified dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods that may have been produced at a single facility in South Carolina.

As part of this outbreak investigation, Ohio public health and agriculture officials collected and tested dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis was isolated from an opened bag of Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food collected from the home of an ill person, and an unopened bag of the product collected from a retail store. A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility has also yielded Salmonella.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and regulatory investigations are ongoing to identify if other brands of dry dog food produced at this facility may be linked to human illnesses. Diamond Pet Foods is cooperating with public health and agricultural investigators in this ongoing investigation.

What you need to know

Consumers should check their homes for recalled dog food products and discard them promptly.  Consumers with questions about recalled dog food may contact Diamond Pet Foods at telephone number (800) 442-0402 or visit www.diamondpetrecall.com.

Follow the CDC’s tips listed in their article Salmonella from Dry Pet Food and Treats to help prevent an infection with Salmonella from handling dry pet food and treats.

People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health care providers. Infants, older adults, and persons with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

People who think their animal might have become ill after eating dry pet food should consult their veterinary-care providers. Additional information for pet parents can be found here at the CDC.

Signs & symptoms

Most persons infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Older adults, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

More information about Salmonella, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection with Salmonella in general, can be found on the CDC Salmonella Web Page and the CDC Vital Signs Web Page.

SOURCEMultistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infantis Infections Linked to Dry Dog Food, CDC, May 3, 2012

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (20) Write a comment

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  7. 4 of the 14 individuals have an association with a Diamond pet food.

    Can you find out the cause of the majority of cases? Thanks!

    Reply

    • If you go to the CDC website (link in the article) you can read more about it there. The CDC has said because of the DNA fingerprint associated with Salmonella Infantis they say it is all from pet food made at that plant in Gaston SC.

      Reply

    • This is what the CDC said, “Multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina have been linked to some of the human Salmonella infections.”

      and….”Of 5 ill persons who could recall the type of dog food with which they had contact, 4 (80%) identified dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods that may have been produced at a single facility in South Carolina.”

      …Of the people who could recall…

      and…”Epidemiologic, laboratory, and regulatory investigations are ongoing to identify if other brands of dry dog food produced at this facility may be linked to human illnesses.”

      I would continue to monitor the CDC website for updates. But all the evidence, according to the CDC, points to Diamond’s plant in Gaston SC.

      Reply

    • Google it? No, seriously, because Diamond isn’t talking. I guess they prefer that consumers worry themselves sick than be transparent with consumers. I believe that these brands are made by Diamond, but which brands are/were made at the Gaston plant, I don’t know: Chicken Soup for Pet Lover’s Soul, Taste of the Wild, Kirkland (Costco), Natural Balance, Natura, Fromm, Orijen, Canidae, Felidae, Solid Gold, and others. Diamond says to call the manufacturer yourself and ask. Thanks Diamond. For nothing.

      Reply

      • Yep, their web site is pretty sad when it comes to product info. Wikipedia listed these foods
        Canidae Pet Food
        Costco’s Kirkland Signature
        Solid Gold Health Products for Pets
        Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods
        Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain (Available only at Costco)
        Taste of the Wild Pet Foods
        Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
        4Health (Available only at Tractor Supply Company)
        NutraGold Super Premium Holistic Formulas

        I use Natural Balance dry food as a “supplement” to the raw/cooked food that I make for my doggies. They have also had recalls due to melamine in the “rice protein concentrate” in their products. The ingredient wasn’t listed on the products that were recalled. This info I gleaned from Wiki too (not a lot of personal time to do this).

        I don’t know which plant makes the NB that I use. I will continue to wash my hands more to avoid any contamination from the food but I won’t stop my dogs from giving me kisses.

        Thanks for all the leads and info.

        Reply

      • I believe you may be mistaken about Orijen. According to their web site they only produce their foods in their own factories. If this is incorrect please let me know.

        Reply

        • As I made clear — the brands I mentioned in my comment were my best guess and NOT stated as fact. Because Diamond has not been fully transparent it has made the recall that much more difficult for everyone; consumers, reporters, bloggers as well as for retailers. The only way to know for sure is the call the brand – in your case Orijen. I will look into it and see what I can find out. Thanks for your comment!

          Reply

        • You are correct! Orijen is made by their parent company Champion in Canada. Thank you!

          Now, wouldn’t it have just been simpler if Diamond had been transparent?

          Instead, consumers and bloggers who are too lazy (me!) to research every brand Diamond might have made at that plant in Gaston, SC are left guessing.

          I am always careful though, to say when I am not certain of something – I will tell people – this is just a guess. I hate guessing. I like facts.

          From now on, I’m going to keep my big trap shut and stop feeding the rumor mill!

          Thank you for keeping me real Patricia!

          Reply

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