Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials later collected pig ears from retail stores where those in the state who were sickened reported buying them. The pig ears were later analyzed and tested positive for salmonella — though the specific outbreak strain was not identified, according to the CDC.
“Investigators are checking to see if any human illnesses are linked to those strains. Retail locations where sampling occurred have removed pig ears from shelves,” the CDC noted, adding a common supplier has not yet been pinpointed.
Salmonella infections can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps. Illnesses are more likely to be severe in the elderly and infants, according to the CDC, which estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses in the U.S. per year.
The CDC also gave advice to dog owners to help prevent salmonella infections.
Owners should wash their hands with soap and water after handling pet food or treats, including pig ears. It also advised owners to not let their dog lick their mouth or face after feeding the animal a treat or food. Young children, especially those 5 years of age or younger, should “not touch or eat pet food or treats,” the CDC warned.
Some dogs infected with salmonella may not appear to be sick. However, infected dogs “usually have diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus,” per the federal health agency. “Affected animals may seem more tired than usual, and may have a fever or vomit.”
For additional information on the outbreak and how to keep yourself and your pet healthy, click here.