Health officials have recommended puppies be banned from aged care facilities after two outbreaks of potentially deadly Campylobacter gastroenteritis in a Canberra nursing home.
But trained adult dogs will still be able to visit aged care homes.
According to a paper to be presented at a Communicable Diseases Conference in Canberra on Tuesday, 15 people were infected during two separate gastroenteritis outbreaks in the nursing home between April and June last year.
A healthy four-month-old puppy was identified as the likely cause of the outbreaks and excluded from the facility.
An expert panel was established to investigate the case.
''Campylobacter jejuni was recovered from both human and canine faecal samples,'' the study findings said.
''A review of published literature showed puppies extensively shed Campylobacter species.
''The [aged care] setting and low infective dose also made transmission likely, despite the varying degrees of contact between the puppy and cases.
''While infection control practices were generally appropriate, the facility's animal policy did not adequately address potential zoonotic risk.''
The study's lead author, epidemiologist Cameron Moffatt of the ACT Health Protection Service, was not available for interview on Monday.
An ACT Health Directorate spokeswoman was unable to disclose the name of the home or whether anybody had died as a result of the infections.
Elderly people infected with Campylobacter have an increased risk of hospitalisation and death.
The panel recommended the puppy be excluded from the aged care home until it was at least a year old and assessed as being suited for an aged care environment.
The panel decided puppies should not be considered as aged care companions due to ''high rates of Campylobacter carriage and shedding; their social immaturity; susceptibility of elderly residents to infection and poor outcomes''.
Last year, health authorities were officially notified of 477 Campylobacter cases in the ACT and 15,645 cases nationally.