US Federal and state health officials are now investigating eight separate multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks, with the addition of a Salmonella Infantis outbreak reported in six states.
In the past month and a half, health officials have reported an additional 287 cases and 10 more states affected by the outbreaks, bringing the total to 611 sickened in 45 states, including one death (Salmonella was not considered the cause of death). One third of the patients were children 5 years of age or younger.
Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings have linked the eight outbreaks to contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings from multiple hatcheries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following recommendations to keep your family healthy:
- Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.
- Do not let live poultry inside the house.
- Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without adult supervision.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most individuals recover without treatment. In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites. In these cases, Salmonella can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness