Four times more people in twice as many states have been infected with salmonella in less than a month, reported this week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The CDC linked infections with contact with backyard poultry, including chickens and ducklings.
On May 16, 52 people in 21 states were infected, the CDC said. On Thursday, the CDC said an additional 227 people in 20 more states had been added to its investigation. Four Salmonella serotypes were also added.
»Salmonella outbreak in 21 states linked to backyard chickens
Of the 279 now infected, 40 have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. Seventy cases involve children under five, the CDC said.
Until now, infections have been detected in all states, with the exception of Georgia, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New Hampshire , New Jersey, New York and North Dakota.
In interviews, people reported getting their chicks and ducklings in agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries.
This is not the first time that an outbreak of salmonella is linked to our feathered friends. In July 2018, the CDC discovered 212 cases of salmonella in 44 states linked to backyard poultry.
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Birds can infect birds in many ways.
The CDC indicates on its website that feces, salmonella germs and feathers, paws and beaks are present in poultry even when they appear healthy and clean. Germs can enter cages, hen houses, food and water dishes, hay, plants and soil. Germs can also affect the hands, shoes and clothing of people who handle or care for poultry.
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The infection can be prevented, however. The CDC recommends the following safety tips:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and move. Adults should supervise hand washing by young children. Use a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
- Do not leave backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or beverages are prepared, served or stored.
- Set aside a pair of shoes to wear when dealing with poultry and keep them outside the home.
- Children under 5, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry.
- Do not eat or drink where poultry lives or walks.
- Do not kiss poultry poultry or cuddle before touching your face or mouth.
- Stay outdoors when cleaning equipment or equipment used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages or food or water containers.
- For a full list of recommendations, visit the Healthy Pets, Healthy People section on backyard poultry.
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