CDC officials say dry dog food may be an under-recognized source of illness in humans, and they are unsure how the bacteria got into the dog food. Usually, Salmonella comes from undercooked meats and eggs.
"They are a number of possible ways that that could happen," said Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, a CDC epidemiologist, who co-authored a report on the finding. "That's something we are still trying to figure out."
Humans became infected with Salmonella in 2006 and 2007 from dry dog food produced by Mars Petcare in Pennsylvania. Dogs were not affected, according to the May 16 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, but a number of those affected were infants.
"The most important thing is to wash your hands right after you handle any dry dog food, any other pet food, pet treats, even supplements or vitamins," Barton Behravesh said. "In addition, keep infants and other young children away from pet food, because kids tend to want to see what their dogs are eating and grab at the pet food and play with it or even put it in their mouth."