July 25, 2024

More Than 100 Sick in Backyard Poultry Salmonella Outbreak

More than 100 people are sick in the United States in another backyard poultry Salmonella outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These types of outbreaks happen every year. In 2022, more than 1,200 people were sickened and 255 were hospitalized after contact with these birds.

More Than 100 Sick in Backyard Poultry Salmonella Outbreak

There are three serotypes that are making people sick: Braenderup, Enteritidis, and Infantis. As of May 8, 2023, 104 people sickened with one of the outbreaks trans have been reported from 31 states.  The case count by state is: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (1), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Kansas (1), Maryland (1), North Carolina (1), New Hampshire (1), Oregon (1), South Carolina (1), Wyoming (1), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (2), Utah (2), West Virginia (2), Kentucky (3), Wisconsin (3), Illinois (4), Indiana (4), Pennsylvania (4), Tennessee (4), Washington (4), Minnesota (5), Missouri (5), New York (6), Oklahoma (6), Virginia (6), Iowa (8), Michigan (11), and Ohio (11).

The patient age range is from 2 months to 83 years. Of 84 people who gave information about their illness to investigators, 19, or 23%, were hospitalized. Illness onset dates range from January 1, 2023 to April 20, 2023.

This outbreak is likely to grow, and the true number of people sickened is likely much higher than that reported. Many people do not go to the doctor when they get sick and are not diagnosed.

Of the 69 people interviewed, 48, or 70%, said they had contact with backyard poultry before getting sick. Of 45 people who gave information about what they ate, 10, or 22%, said they ate eggs from backyard poultry.

Whole genome sequencing among isolates from patients sickened in this backyard poultry Salmonella outbreak showed that the bacteria are closely related genetically. This means people in this outbreak likely got sick from the same type of animal.

The CDC and state partners are working with hatcheries and stores that sell poultry to educate new poultry owners about safety around the birds, and control the spread of this pathogen at hatcheries.

If you choose to keep birds, there are some rules to follow. Always wash your hands with soap and water after touching the birds, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live. Do not kiss or snuggle poultry. Don’t let your children kiss of snuggle them and supervise children carefully around the birds.  Keep supplies used to take care of the birds out of the house. Wash eggs after you collet them, store them in the refrigerator, and always cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm; cook egg dishes to 160°F to kill pathogens.

If you keep backyard poultry and have been ill with the symptoms of Salmonella see your doctor. This infection can have long term health consequences, such as reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome.

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