WASHINGTON (WTNH) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonella connected to backyard poultry.
The outbreak is linked to nine cases of Salmonella in Connecticut. Those nine cases are among 961 people in 48 states that have been sickened according to the CDC.
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Of that number, 215 sickened people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported. The most recent illness began on July 31, the CDC said in a statement Tuesday.
The full CDC report is available here.
Contact with live poultry or their environment can make people sick with Salmonella infections. Live poultry can be carrying Salmonella bacteria, but appear healthy and clean, with no sign of illness, the CDC wrote in their report.
“The outbreak is serious,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, Chief of Infectious Diseases at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. “As the prevalence of chicken increases as pet ownership or as food, we’re going to see a lot more of these outbreaks,” he said. “Chances are they’re actually probably getting salmonella through handling of the chickens or handling of the eggs.”
Dr. Wu says often times, people may have salmonella, but don’t realize it. He says symptoms include nausea, vomitting, some cramping, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The CDC says most people will develop symptoms 12 – 72 hours after infection. People usually have the illness 4-7 days and most people recover without treatment.
Tips to reduce the odds of a Salmonella infection from backyard poultry:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam.
- Adults should supervise handwashing by young children.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
- Don’t let live poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.
- Don’t let children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65, or people with weakened immune systems from conditions such as cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS or organ transplants, handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
- Don’t eat or drink in the area where the birds live or roam.
- Avoid kissing your birds or snuggling them, then touching your mouth.
- Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for live poultry, such as cages or feed or water containers.
- Buy birds from hatcheries that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Poultry Improvement Plan (USDA-NPIP) U.S. voluntarySalmonella Monitoring Program. This program is intended to reduce the incidence of Salmonella in baby poultry in the hatchery, which helps prevent the spread of illness among poultry and people.