The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that over 200 cases of Salmonella were linked to contact with backyard poultry like chickens.

The outbreak has hit several states causing illness and hospitalizations. The CDC reported one death in Tennessee. They did not reveal the location of the death.

The CDC warned that even healthy-looking ducks and chickens can carry Salmonella germs which spread easily in the areas where the poultry live and roam.

Illness occurs from touching your backyard poultry or anything in their environment and then touching your mouth or food and swallowing Salmonella germs.

Quick facts:

  • In total, 219 illnesses have been reported from 38 states, and 27 people have been hospitalized.
  • One in four sick people are children younger than 5 years.
  • One death has been reported from Tennessee.
  • The true number of sick people is likely much higher than the reported number, as many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella.
  • Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread in areas where the poultry live and roam.
  • These outbreaks occur annually and coincide with the increase in baby poultry purchases, beginning in the spring. Last year in 2021, a total of 1,135 people got sick from contact with backyard poultry.
  • These Salmonella outbreaks are not related to recent cases of H5N1 bird flu viruses detected in U.S. wild birds and poultry. However, backyard poultry owners should be aware that the steps needed to stay healthy around their flocks are similar for both diseases.

    Signs and symptoms of salmonella:

    • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
    • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
    • Signs of dehydration, such as:
      • Not peeing much
      • Dry mouth and throat
      • Feeling dizzy when standing up

    The CDC said there are steps to take to continue to be around your poultry. Always wash hands with soap and water immediately after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam. The CDC also advised having hand sanitizer at your coop.

    The CDC said to be mindful of children under five and those over 65-tears old as they have weaker immune systems.

    If you have symptoms of Salmonella, you are urged to call your local health department.

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