Salmonella outbreaks in 48 states linked to backyard poultry

More than 900 people in 48 states, including Idaho, have been sickened with salmonella, and at least one person has died, likely caused by backyard poultry like chickens and ducks.

KIVI-TV reports while outbreaks of salmonella from backyard poultry is not uncommon, the number of cases this year is higher than normal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They report 15 multi-state outbreak strains currently being investigated.

Since June 24th, 473 more people have gotten sick according to CDC’s data, for a total of 938 people infected with salmonella so far this year. Roughly 33 percent of those who got sick had to be hospitalized. The one reported death was in Oklahoma.

At the end of July 2019, 768 people in this country had gotten sick from salmonella linked to live poultry.

The CDC was able to interview about 400 patients this year, and of those, 74 percent reported having contact with chicks or ducklings. Testing from backyard poultry environments in Kentucky and Oregon identified three of the outbreak strains.

The CDC reports you can get sick with a Salmonella infection from touching backyard poultry or their environment. Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean and show no signs of illness. Follow these tips to stay healthy with your backyard flock:

Wash your hands.

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
  • Adults should supervise hand washing by young children.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.

Be safe around poultry.

  • Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.
  • Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.
  • Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.
  • Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
  • Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages and containers for feed or water.

Supervise kids around poultry.

  • Always supervise children around poultry and while they wash their hands.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.

Handle eggs safely.

  • Collect eggs often. Eggs that sit in the nest can become dirty or break.
  • Throw away cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can more easily enter the egg though a cracked shell.
  • Eggs with dirt and debris can be cleaned carefully with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth.
  • Don’t wash warm, fresh eggs because colder water can pull germs into the egg.
  • Refrigerate eggs after collection to maintain freshness and slow germ growth.
  • Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm. Egg dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) or hotter. Raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria that can make you sick.

For more information go to cdc.gov/salmonella/backyardpoultry

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