CDC links seven multistate Salmonella outbreaks to contact with live poultry
The CDC has announced that seven outbreaks of Salmonella affecting 324 people across 35 states have been linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.
Sixty-six patients were hospitalized, according to the CDC. One death was reported; however, Salmonella was not considered to be a contributing factor. More than one-quarter of infections occurred in children aged 5 years or younger.
Based on available information, the CDC reported that the onset of illnesses ranged from January 4 to May 11. Of the 238 people who were interviewed, 217 said they had contact with live poultry the week before their illness. Patients reported purchasing live baby poultry from feed supply stores, co-ops, hatcheries and friends in multiple states. The birds were purchased either as pets, Easter gifts, to produce eggs, or so people could learn about agriculture.
The outbreaks are expected to continue over the next several months, as poultry owners may be unaware of the risk for Salmonella infection. According to the CDC, live poultry such as chicks, chickens, ducks and ducklings can carry bacteria, even when they appear to be clean. Besides direct contact with live poultry, people can contract Salmonella infections through contact with the birds’ cages, coops, hay, plants and soil in areas where the birds roam and live. Children are especially at risk for developing Salmonella infection by holding or cuddling birds.
To prevent infections, the CDC recommends thorough handwashing after direct contact with live poultry, leaving birds outside the house and supervising young children when they are handling or touching the birds.