The salmonella infection linked to backyard poultry has expanded to 768 people in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and two people have died.
Since last month’s update, 489 people — including six in Georgia — eight states and five salmonella serotypes have been added to the CDC’s investigation into the spread of the infections.
Of the 768 people infected, 122 have been hospitalized. The deaths were in Texas and Ohio.
Nearly a quarter of those infected, 156, have been children younger than 5.
In interviews, people said they got their chicks and ducklings from agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries.
This is not the first time a salmonella outbreak has been linked to our feathered friends. In July 2018, the CDC discovered 212 salmonella cases in 44 states linked to backyard poultry.
There are many ways people can be infected by fowl.
Poultry might have salmonella germs in their droppings, and on their feathers, feet and beaks, even when they appear healthy and clean, the CDC states on its website. The germs can get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, hay, plants, and soil. Germs also can get on the hands, shoes and clothes of people who handle or care for poultry.
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 of 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.
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