Four the fourth time in five years, Salmonella from contact with live poultry has sickened hundreds of Americans. Seven separate simultaneous Salmonella outbreaks are currently linked to backyard flocks of chickens and ducks. At least 324 people in 35 states have been sickened, 66 have been hospitalized and one person has died, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Salmonella “was not considered to be a contributing factor in the reported death.”
The majority of those sickened, 88 percent, were children 5 years of age or younger. Those sickened contracted Salmonella infections after handling live poultry infected with the bacteria and then not washing hands before touching their faces, eating or preparing food.
The state-by-state breakdown of cases is as follows: AL (9), AR (6), CA (8), CO (3),
CT (4), FL (8), GA (5), IA (1), IL (5), IN (7), KY (21), MA (4), MD (3), MI (34), MN (1), MO (7), MS (1), MT (10), NC (26), ND (2), NY (34), OH (33), OK (1), OR (1), PA (20), RI (2), SC (9), SD (3), TN (3), TX (4), UT (1), VA (19), VT (12), WI (4)
WV (13). To see a breakdown of each of the seven outbreaks, click the “live poultry” link at the start of this story.
Salmonella causes illness that can be life-threatening. Those most at risk are children younger than 5, adults over the age of 65, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of an infection, which include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever, usually develop within six to 72 hours after infection and last about a week.
This is the fourth time in five years that Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to live poultry. Health officials remind those who keep live poultry to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching the birds or anything in the area where they are kept.
Children younger than 5 years of age should not be allowed to handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without supervision. The outbreaks are ongoing.
Image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.