Local Petland manager, former employee speak out about illness linked to pet store

Ohio included in national pet store illness

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Ohio Department of Health is investigating a bacterial infection outbreak that spreads from dogs to humans. The outbreak spans seven states, including Ohio.

Out of the 39 people who have reportedly fallen ill from the outbreak, 18 of them are from Ohio. Three of them have been hospitalized.

According to the CDC, the outbreaks occurred from the puppies sold through different Petland stores.

RELATED: Infection linked to Petland pet store puppies sickens 39 people in seven states, including Ohio

News 5 spoke with Sherry Harrison, the manager of the Petland store in Strongsville. She clarified that her store has not been affected by the outbreak.

The Ohio Department of Health confirmed the outbreaks in Ohio occurred in Athens, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Lawrence and Ross Counties, but none in Northeast Ohio.

“We have a vet look at our pets on a regular basis and just looking for any changes,” said Harrison. “I was quite surprised, but we're just going to buckle down and do even more to make sure our customers are protected, and our puppies are protected.”

News 5 also spoke over the phone to a former employee of the Petland store in Mentor, which has closed down. Stephanie Mugnano of Eastlake said she was diagnosed with the infection back in 2008.

“I was diagnosed in with the Campylobacter bacteria, after having weeks of diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain,” she said.

Mugnano said her co-worker was also diagnosed at the time.

“She had to go through few courses of antibiotics, hers kind of lingered,” said Mugnano.

Mugnano is not affected by the current outbreak, but told News 5 she now works as a traveling nurse and still has medical issues from the infection nine years ago.

“I do have some issues with irritable bowel syndrome,” she said. “It's hard when you're in a place like Petland, because those puppies come in sick.”

Campylobactor spreads through feces and can spread from dogs to humans.

“People need to be aware that this is out there, but I don't think people should be not wanting to get a puppy,” said Harrison. “That's not just from us, but any place.”

Health officials are urging people to wash their hands after encountering any dogs and to not let them lick their face. They said the symptoms of this infection do not usually show up until two to five days after being exposed.

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