CDC warning: Handle backyard chickens with care

A map of salmonella cases linked to backyard chickens

A map of salmonella cases linked to backyard chickens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the US each year, with food the source of an overwhelming majority of the cases.

Healthy people may have short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

The illnesses began between February 15 and June 21, and at least 34 people have been hospitalized. 34 people were sent to the hospital.

Research and laboratory findings have linked the outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings from multiple hatcheries. The live poultry was obtained from several sources, including feed supply stores, hatcheries, relatives and from online merchants.

The CDC said even though the communicated about more multi-state outbreaks than usual this year, current data does not suggest foodborne illnesses or outbreaks are increasing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses every year, and food is usually the cause.

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Several different types of Salmonella bacteria have sickened people over the course of this outbreak. A full list of product sizes and codes can be found on the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Most of the time people assume Salmonella is associated with foods like raw eggs and poultry. The illness typically lasts four to seven days.

"A lot of people don't realize these cute little fuzzy animals carry microbes that carry bacteria harmful to us", she said in March.

If you have backyard chickens, health officials advise that you always wash your hands with soap and water after touching the birds. Children younger than 5 should not handle or touch live poultry without adult supervision. They should wash their hands before and after preparing and eating food, touching animals, and changing diapers.

So how do you avoid getting sick?

-Have a pair of "outside shoes" for the chicken coop.

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