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Salmonella outbreaks tied to backyard chickens reported in 43 states, CDC says

The CDC said that poultry like chicken and ducks can carry salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean.

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into a multistate outbreak of salmonella infections linked to backyard chickens.

The health agency said on Thursday that a total of 163 people were infected across 43 states, but the total number of infected individuals is "likely much higher." It said the illnesses started around Feb. 12, 2021, through April 25, 2021. Epidemiologic and laboratory data claims that contact with backyard poultry is making people sick.

North Carolina and Iowa had the highest numbers of reported salmonella cases from backyard poultry, followed by California, Virginia and Georgia.

Health experts said people who reported being sick from the outbreak range from younger than a year old to 87 years old. An investigation found that 58% of the cases are female. Of the 109 people with information available to health officials, 34 have been hospitalized. The CDC said no deaths have been reported connected to this.

The CDC said that poultry like chicken and ducks can carry salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean. It claims the germs can easily spread.

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Symptoms of Salmonella

 The CDC reports that most people infected with salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually start around six hours to six days after swallowing the bacteria and people usually recover after about a week.

However, young children, older adults or people with weakened immune systems could experience more severe illnesses that may require medical treatment.

Anyone who experiences severe symptoms should call their healthcare provider right away.

Own a backyard chicken? Here's what you should do

The CDC said anyone could get sick from touching the poultry or anything in their environment and then touching your mouth or food. Below is the guidance from the CDC to stay safe:

  • Wash your hands after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam
  • Be safe around backyard flocks: Don't kiss, snuggle the chickens and don't eat or drink around them
  • Supervise children around flocks: Always supervise children around backyard poultry and make sure they wash their hands properly afterward
  • Handle eggs safely: Collect the eggs often, throw away cracked eggs, cook eggs fully until the yolk and white are firm


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