A salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 200 people in 44 states is linked to backyard chickens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
As of July 13, 2018, 212 cases of salmonella infections have been linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks, according to the agency. A quarter of the reported cases are children under the age of 5.
More than 70 percent of those sickened in this outbreak, which includes several strains of salmonella, reported coming into contact with chicks or ducklings in the week before their illness started, the CDC said. The live poultry was obtained from several sources, including feed supply stores, hatcheries, relatives and from online merchants.
The illnesses began between Feb. 15 and June 21, and at least 34 people have been hospitalized. The CDC said no deaths have been reported.
“People can get sick with Salmonella infections from touching live poultry or their environment,” the CDC said on its website. “These birds can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.”
Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Diagnosing the illness requires a blood or stool sample, as other illnesses cause similar symptoms.
The CDC suggested tips for handling live poultry: Always wash your hands with soap and water after touching live poultry or their environment. Children under five years old should not touch live poultry without adult supervision. Wear separate shoes when caring for poultry, and leave them outside. Do not allow live poultry inside the house or around food.