Contact with backyard poultry linked to more than 200 salmonella illnesses in 2022

A notice of investigation from the CDC regarding multi-state outbreaks of Salmonella infections has been published:

Key points:

  • The CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections related to contact with backyard poultry.
  • A total of 219 illnesses have been reported in 38 states and 27 people have been hospitalized.
  • One in four sick people is a child under the age of 5.
  • One death has been reported in Tennessee.
  • The actual number of sick people is likely much higher than the reported number, as many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella.
  • Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread to areas where poultry live and travel.
  • These outbreaks occur every year and coincide with increased purchases of baby poultry, beginning in the spring. Last year, in 2021, a total of 1,135 people fell ill from contact with backyard poultry.
  • These Salmonella the outbreaks are not linked to recent cases of the H5N1 avian influenza virus detected in wild birds and poultry in the United States. However, backyard poultry owners should be aware that the steps needed to stay healthy around their flocks are similar for both diseases.

Take steps to enjoy your birds while staying healthy:

  • Always wash your hands for 20 seconds after touching birds, their supplies, or picking up eggs.
  • Use a dedicated pair of shoes or boots for your chicken coop and do not wear them inside your home.
  • Keep birds and supplies outside the house to avoid spreading germs in your home.
  • Do not let children under 5 touch birds (including chicks and ducklings) or anything in the area where the birds live and roam. This helps protect young children from illness because their immune systems are still developing, are more likely to put objects in their mouths, or not wash their hands thoroughly.

About Salmonella:

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4-7 days and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the disease can be so severe that the patient is hospitalized.
  • Children under 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe disease.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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