The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the salmonella outbreak that has been linked to backyard poultry — such as chicks and ducklings — has expanded, sickening a total of 279 people across 41 states.
The CDC shared the update on Thursday, the first since May 16. In that time, an additional 227 people across 20 states have reported salmonella infections to the federal health agency.
In total, 40 people have been hospitalized due to the illness, but no deaths have been reported to date.
70 cases are children younger than 5 years.
According to the CDC:
- Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria;
- The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment;
- In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe, that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body;
- In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics; and
- People more likely to get a serious illness are children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.
In May, when 52 people were affected by the outbreak, the CDC warned to not “kiss or snuggle” chickens. It also issued a list of precautions the public should take when handling the animals to avoid contracting the illness, such as always washing your hands after handling a backyard flock and not letting the birds inside the home, especially in areas where food is prepared.
The CDC also said at the time that children younger than 5, or adults over 65, should avoid handling “chicks, ducklings, or other poultry” altogether.
Regardless of where poultry is purchased, they can carry Salmonella germs that can make people sick. Backyard poultry owners should always follow steps to stay healthy around their poultry.