(WHDH) — Backyard poultry is to blame for a growing salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 1,000 people in 49 states this year.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries, are the likely source of the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC says six of the outbreak strains making people sick have been identified in samples collected from backyard poultry environments and from poultry environments at retail stores.
“People can get sick with salmonella infections from touching backyard poultry or the places where they live and roam,” the CDC warned. “Backyard poultry can carry salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.”
The CDC offered the following advice for backyard flock owners:
- 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 an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol 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 aged 65 and older, and people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness 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.
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