By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports investigating an outbreak of 19 Salmonella infections in 8 states (CA, KY, MS, NH, OK, OR, TN, WA).

Image by Veronika Andrews from Pixabay

Eight people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Interviews with sick people and laboratory testing from sick or dead birds show that contact with wild songbirds and bird feeders is likely making people sick in this outbreak.

This outbreak is making both birds and humans sick. Salmonella can spread between species of birds, to pets, and to people.

Birds can carry germs like Salmonella while looking healthy and clean. However, there are reports of wild songbirds, such as pine siskins (small, streaked, yellow-tinged songbirds in the finch family) sick with the same strain of Salmonella that is making people sick in this outbreak. Salmonella germs can spread between species of birds, to pets, and to people.

CDC offers the following recommendations to prevent illness:

  1. Always wash your hands right after touching a bird feeder, bird bath, or after handling a bird – even if you wore gloves.
  2. Clean and disinfect your bird feeder and bird bath weekly or when they are visibly dirty. Feeders should be cleaned outside your house when possible. If you clean it indoors, use a laundry sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right after.
  3. Keep pets away from bird feeders and bird baths and the areas under them.
  4. Do not touch or hand-feed wild birds with your bare hands.
  5. If you find a sick or dead bird, call your state wildlife agency or wildlife rehabilitator.
  6. If you find a sick or dead bird in your yard, remove any bird feeders and baths for two weeks and clean them outdoors.