Salmonella from backyard poultry: CDC says dozens of cases linked

Washington is one of 38 states with a salmonella outbreak linked to backyard fowl.

WASHINGTON — Various month-long outbreaks of Salmonella that have infected at least 219 people in 38 states can be traced to contact with backyard fowl, the Centers for Disease Control said this week.

The current outbreak began in mid-February, with the majority of the diseases appearing between mid-April and mid-May, according to the CDC. The agency said at least 27 people have been hospitalized from contracting the bacteria and at least one Tennessee person has died.

These backyard fowl-related outbreaks are unrelated to the Jif peanut butter-related Salmonella outbreak and subsequent recall. It is also unrelated to recent cases of H5N1 avian influenza virus detected in wild birds and poultry in the US.

The majority of backyard fowl-related cases appear to be centralized in the upper Midwest, with Minnesota reporting the highest number of cases at 15 and Wisconsin the second highest at 13. The CDC says most of the hospital patients were young children.

The more than 200 people who contracted Salmonella ranged in age from under 1 to 89 years old, according to CDC data. Of patients surveyed by the CDC, 70% reported exposure to backyard fowl, which includes birds such as chickens and ducks. Of 56 patients with available information, 16 reported eating backyard fowl eggs and two reported eating the meat of the animals.

CDC testing also found that 33% of bacterial samples from all reported cases showed resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics such as ampicillin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

According to the CDC, most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually develop within six hours of ingesting the bacteria, and most people recover within 4-7 days without treatment.

Children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 65 and people with a weakened immune system can develop more serious illnesses that can lead to hospitalization.

It is well known that backyard poultry and poultry products carry a higher risk of Salmonella contamination. An outbreak last year infected more than 1,100 people and killed at least two people.

The CDC recommends several ways to help prevent the spread and contamination of salmonella from backyard poultry. People should avoid kissing or cuddling the animals, and you should wash your hands with warm, soapy water if you come into contact with the birds or their eggs.

Persons collecting eggs should regularly inspect the eggs to ensure they have not cracked. The CDC also recommends not washing eggs, since water can cause the bacteria to enter the shell. Eggs should be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit before consumption. Salmonella from backyard poultry: CDC says dozens of cases linked

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