Salmonella From Backyard Flocks

People Infected With Outbreak Strains Of Salmonella By State, As Of Aug. 11, 2017

Since January, state and federal investigators have been tracking 10 outbreaks of salmonella in people who came into contact with poultry such as chicks and ducklings in backyard flocks.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 961 people in 48 states and the District of Columbia have been infected with the outbreak strains. One person has died and 215 people have been hospitalized.

California has the second-highest number of cases with 54, following Virginia with 56.

Contact with poultry or their environment infect people with salmonella. The birds can carry the bacteria but appear healthy and clean, with no sign of illness. In humans, symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

In July, the California Department of Public Health warned the public about the outbreak and provided this advice:

  • Always wash hands with soap and water after handling live poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
  • Prevent live chickens, ducks and geese from coming into the house.
  • Do not allow children younger than 5 to handle or touch live poultry and eggs without supervision and subsequent handwashing.
  • Do not snuggle or kiss the birds.
  • Do not touch your mouth, or eat or drink while near live poultry.

In 2016, the CDC tracked 895 salmonella infections linked to backyard flocks. Most of the illnesses were reported in New York, Michigan and Ohio. California reported only 21 cases.

The increases are linked to a growing trend of raising backyard chickens, public health officials said. Many people are interested in knowing where their food comes from and others think that chickens provide a good educational experience for kids.