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Backyard Chickens Linked To 124 Cases Of Salmonella Illnesses Across 36 States

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The CDC reports that a salmonella outbreak has been linked to contact with backyard chickens. There have been 124 cases throughout 36 states identified as part of the outbreak.  ( Pixabay )

Most salmonella outbreaks occur because of contaminated food that people eat, but it appears that a recent nationwide outbreak is the result of an unlikely source.

What Did The CDC Announce?

On June 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it is investigating a salmonella outbreak across 36 states. As of June 1, there have been 124 cases and 21 hospitalizations from the outbreak. No deaths have been reported.

Sometimes, a salmonella outbreak revolves around a particular type of bacteria, but there have been at least six different varieties discovered so far. The CDC has found cases of salmonella in California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

The illnesses commenced on Feb. 2 and lasted until May 14. Although the survivors are people of all ages, nearly one-third of them are children under the age of 5.

What Is Causing The Salmonella Outbreak?

After speaking to survivors with salmonella from this outbreak and testing lab results, the CDC linked the salmonella outbreak with chickens and ducklings that could be found in someone's backyard. Roughly 74 percent of the survivors reportedly had contact with live poultry before getting sick.

Having a chicken as a backyard pet might seem like a fun idea, but it comes with great risk. Chickens and ducklings can easily transmit salmonella bacteria while appearing perfectly healthy and clean at the same time. Some of the people got the poultry from stores, online shopping, or relatives.

It is common to have a salmonella outbreak linked to poultry. Since 2000, 70 outbreaks have been attributed to poultry. Over a million people get sick every year in the United States from salmonella exposure. However, most of the cases are from poorly treated food, not from backyard pets. That is what makes this new outbreak particularly unusual.

What Should People Do About The Salmonella Outbreak?

Symptoms of salmonella include nausea, diarrhea, fever, chills, and abdominal pain. The symptoms can last up to a week, and most people do recover from it. It could also lead to other complications with more serious infections. Hundreds of people die annually because of salmonella.

The CDC recommends that people keep live poultry out of homes, especially out of bathrooms and kitchens. When touching poultry, wash your hands with soap and water before and after contact. It might be wise to wear a different set of shoes when you are working with poultry. Parents should keep children under the age of 5 away from live poultry to protect them.

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