Cases of salmonellosis in humans connected to contact with pig ear treats continue to rise and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising pet owners to take precautions to avoid illness.
The organization, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is reporting 143 cases of Salmonella human infection tied to exposure to pig ears, spread across 35 states.
Thirty-three people have been hospitalized, CDC says, with many cases classified as multidrug-resistant.
FDA and CDC recommend owners not buy any pig ears at this time and safely discard any already purchased. Further, the organizations recommend in-store and online retailers stop selling the treats immediately.
Three companies in the United States recalled products in August, with some treats having tested positive for Salmonella. Additional testing is underway to identify the specific strain(s).
FDA has traced back some of the products associated with cases of infection to sources in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, but says these treats do not account for all the illnesses reported in this outbreak.
Salmonella can cause illness and death in humans and animals, especially those who are very young, very old, or have weak immune systems. Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with the bacterium, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and/or decreased activity level.