Salmonella outbreaks linked to live poultry sickens hundreds nationwide

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On Thursday, the CDC announced that it is working with states to investigate eight multistate outbreaks of salmonella connected to these kinds of backyard birds.

The CDC in the e-mail said it expects outbreaks to continue for the next several months.

Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks. "Some of these birds can have a long life expectancy", the agency said.

At least 372 people in 47 states became ill after coming into contact with the live poultry, including 16 in Washington state, according to the state Department of Health. Thirty-six percent of ill persons are children under the age of 5. In these cases, contact with live poultry constituted any interaction with chickens, ducks, or geese, which may have come from several different hatcheries. A number of Salmonella strains have been implicated: Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella I 4, [5], 12:i-, Salmonella Indiana, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Mbandaka, and Salmonella Typhimurium.

The CDC has previously reported an uptick in salmonella cases because of an uptick in the number of people keeping and raising chickens.

In 2016, the country set a record, with 895 people getting sick with salmonella after interacting with the birds.

CDC backyard flock safety tips
Salmonella outbreaks linked to live poultry sickens hundreds nationwide

Live poultry that looks healthy can still be carrying Salmonella bacteria, which is contagious and can cause serious illness.

While contracting Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and other bacteria from live poultry is relatively easy, the preventive measures recommended by public health officials are also easy, but must be practiced diligently. The health department encouraged people who fit the criteria avoid handling live poultry.

Don't let live poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food is served.

In extreme cases, the bacteria may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, which can lead to death if the patient is not quickly treated with antibiotics.

Illness from Salmonella usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. No one has died from the infection, but 71 of those infections were so bad the people had to be hospitalized.

More tips for backyard flock owners to prevent infection can be found on the CDC website.