More than 900 sick, 1 dead from salmonella linked to chicks, ducklings

38 people in Georgia affected; Tennessee and Kentucky hardest hit

Salmonella outbreak in 48 states linked to chicks, ducklings

By this date in 2019, six people in Georgia had been sickened by salmonella linked to backyard poultry. As of July 28, 2020, that number is 38.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with health officials in 48 states to investigate 15 multistate outbreaks of salmonella infections this year linked to backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings.

Since the June 24 update, 473 ill people were added to this investigation, the CDC wrote. As of July 28, there are 938 people infected with one of the outbreak strains. Of those, 151 have been hospitalized, with one death reported. That person lived in Oklahoma.

More than a quarter of those affected are younger than 5 years old.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence shows that contact with backyard poultry (such as chicks and ducklings) is the likely source of these outbreaks.

The CDC reported that in interviews with 409 ill people, 303 (74%) reported contact with chicks and ducklings they got from several sources, including agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries.

Testing of backyard poultry and their environments (such as backyard coops) in Kentucky and Oregon found three of the outbreak strains.

Infection can be prevented, however. The CDC recommends the following safety tips:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise handwashing by young children. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Don't let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.
  • Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside the house.
  • Children younger than 5, adults over 65, and people with weakened immune systems shouldn't handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry.
  • Don't eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
  • Don't kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.
  • Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers.
  • For a complete list of recommendations, visit the Healthy Pets, Healthy People website section on backyard poultry.