Those affected by the outbreak ranged in age from less than one year to 86, and all showed resistance to antibiotics commonly used to treat this infection, according to CNN.
This preventive measure, called prophylaxis, is used in food animal production and is blamed for fueling antibiotic resistance.
"Implementation of antibiotic stewardship principles and practices in the commercial dog industry is needed", they concluded bluntly.
Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million diarrheal illnesses in the United States annually. By the beginning of next year 118 cases were already 18 States.
Eighteen states, more than 100 people sick, 26 hospitalizations-and an unknown number of puppies as the likely infection-spreaders.
Of those infected, 29 were employees at a pet store - and 99 percent of those infected reported being exposed to a dog, the CDC says. They sniffed out drug records for 149 puppies, finding many were given antibiotics without being sick-a big no-no for antibiotic stewardship and preventing drug resistance.
TIME also notes that Campylobacter infections affect about one million people in the USA annually, and in addition to contact with infected animals, it can also be spread by eating or drinking contaminated food and water. Investigators collected samples from puppies at 20 pet stores, they found that 95 percent received one or more courses of antibiotics before arriving or while at the store.
The CDC researchers found that the shops were giving antibiotics to nearly all puppies. According to the CDC, 95 percent of the dogs they examined at 20 pet stores across the USA had received at least one course of antibiotics.
Look, we get it. Puppies are adorable. States reporting illness were Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The CDC examined whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data and identified 6 isolates from company A puppies in Florida that were highly related to an isolate from a company A customer in Ohio.
Some of the antibiotics given to the puppies were the same ones that the people who were infected became resistant to during the outbreak.
Though the CDC report does not name pet stores involved in the outbreak, Petland, a national pet store chain, was implicated in the original CDC outbreak notifications. All of them were resistant to at least seven antibiotics (azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, erythromycin, nalidixic acid, telithromycin, and tetracycline).
No single breeder was linked to the pet shop Campylobacter outbreak, according to CBS News, though Petland stores were originally linked to the infections per the CDC's report.
Pet vaccinations are widely considered a public health success, just as it has been with people.
Mike Bober, president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, said pet store employees and owners should follow hygiene and safe-handling practices when interacting with puppies.