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Backyard Poultry Contact Linked to More Than 200 Salmonella Illnesses in 2022

The true 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.

A CDC investigation notice regarding multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections has been posted: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/backyardpoultry-06-22/index.html

Key points:

  • CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry.
  • In total, 219 illnesses have been reported from 38 states, and 27 people have been hospitalized.
  • One in four sick people are children younger than 5 years.
  • One death has been reported from Tennessee.
  • The true 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 in areas where the poultry live and roam.
  • These outbreaks occur annually and coincide with the increase in baby poultry purchases, beginning in the spring. Last year in 2021, a total of 1,135 people got sick from contact with backyard poultry.
  • These Salmonella outbreaks are not related to recent cases of H5N1 bird flu viruses detected in U.S. wild birds and poultry. 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 collecting eggs.
  • Use a pair of dedicated shoes or boots for your coop and don’t wear them inside your house.
  • Keep birds and supplies outside the house to prevent spreading germs into your house.
  • Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch the birds (including chicks and ducklings) or anything in the area where the birds live and roam. This helps protect young children from getting sick, as their immune systems are still developing,  are more likely to put items in their mouths or not wash hands fully.

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 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient is hospitalized.
  • Children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

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

Read more at CDC

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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