More than 300 new Salmonella illnesses reported in outbreaks linked to backyard poultry

A CDC investigation notice regarding multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections has been posted: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/backyardpoultry-05-21/index.html

Key points:

  • CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry.
  • Since the last update on May 20, an additional 311 illnesses have been reported. A total of 474 sick people have been reported from 46 states.
  • 103 people were hospitalized. One death has been reported from Indiana.
  • The true number of sick people is likely much higher than the reported number, as many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella.
  • One-third of sick people are young children under 5 years.
  • Interviews with sick people show that contact with backyard poultry is the likely source of the outbreaks.
  • Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread in areas where the poultry live and roam.
  • Whether you are building your first coop or are a seasoned backyard poultry owner, know the risks of keeping poultry and the steps you can take to stay healthy.

Steps to stay healthy around backyard poultry:

  • Always wash your hands for 20 seconds after touching the flock or flock supplies.
  • Keep flock and flock supplies outside the house to prevent spreading germs into your house.
  • Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch the birds (including chicks and ducklings) or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.
  • Don’t kiss or snuggle the birds, as this can spread germs to your mouth and make you sick.

About Salmonella:

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient is hospitalized.
  • Children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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