The CDC and multiple states are investigating several multi-state outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry. As of July 13, 2018, 212 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 44 states.
The illnesses started being reported in February. Thirty-four people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Twenty-six percent of those ill have been children younger than 5 years.
Several different types of Salmonella bacteria have made people sick in this outbreak: Salmonella Seftenberg, Salmonella Montevideo, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Indiana, and Salmonella Litchfield.
Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings link these outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, which come from multiple hatcheries.
In interviews, 100 (72%) of 138 ill people with information available reported contact with chicks or ducklings in the week before their illness started.
People reported obtaining chicks and ducklings from several sources, including feed supply stores, websites, hatcheries, and from relatives.
The CDC warns these birds can be carrying Salmonella bacteria, but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.
The CDC recommends these tips for staying healthy around backyard poultry:
- Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in their environment.
- Don’t let children younger than 5 years handle or touch live poultry without adult supervision.
- Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of your birds and keep the shoes outside of your home.