(CBS) – An outbreak of salmonella infections linked to pig ears purchased as dog treats has expanded to 27 states, with 93 people stricken, including 20 hospitalizations, according to federal health officials.
Since Pet Supplies Plus in early June recalled bulk pig ears sold at more than 400 stores in 33 states, another 48 illnesses have been reported, bringing the total count of known infections to 93, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said late Tuesday. When the retail chain posted its recall, the outbreak involved 45 illnesses in 13 states.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating contaminated pig ears, with evidence pointing to contact with the dog treats as the likely source of the outbreak.
Salmonella can affect animals eating contaminated products as well as the humans who handled the sickened animals or the infected product. In people, the salmonella infection causes symptoms including nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever; in rare cases, it can cause more serious ailments. Affected pets may become lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting.
“Testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development revealed that aging bulk pig-ear product in one of our stores tested positive for salmonella,” Pet Supplies said. “We have pulled bulk pig-ear product from the shelves of all of our stores and have stopped shipping bulk pig ears from our distribution center.”
Bulk pig ears were distributed to Pet Supplies Plus stores in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Consumers who purchased bulk pig ears should throw them away. (Anyone with further questions can call (734) 793-6564 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, Pet Supplies said.)
The recall is among several recent health concerns regarding what pets eat, with the FDA recently identifying 16 brands of dog food more frequently connected to a spike in canine heart disease.
A separate outbreak of salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry flocks has sickened 768 people from 48 states, including 122 people who were hospitalized and two deaths, one in Ohio and one in Texas, the CDC said.