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39 Ill from Salmonella Tainted Chicks, Ducklings

 multistate outbreak of Salmonella linked to backyard chicks and ducklings has expanded to affect 39 people in 15 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

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A national mail-order hatchery, Feed Store Chain A, is implicated in the outbreak, which was first reported by the CDC in May.

Lab tests detected the Salmonella Altona outbreak bacteria on a chick and in the the yard of an ill person’s household in Ohio, as well as from three samples in chick and duckling displays at two of the company’s locations in North Carolina.

In its latest update report on the outbreak, the CDC said many of the illnesses began between Feb. 25 and May 23.  Nine people have been hospitalized due to severe symptoms. Forty-four percent of those sickened are 5 years of age or younger.

Eight people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella in Ohio; six in North Carolina; four in Kentucky and Pennsylvania; three in Maryland and Virginia; two in New York and Tennessee; and one in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia, the CDC said.

Illneses that occurred after May 6 may not have been reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

The CDC’s advice to people who are raising poultry at home:

— Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.

— If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

— Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.

— Do not let children younger than 5 years of age, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.

— Do not let live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.

— Do not snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live poultry.

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Outbreak map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

© Food Safety News
  • Erin

    Stop licking live poultry! Seriously, isn’t most of this common sense?

  • godzilinda

    Does the CDC or USDA have any intention to regulate sleazy operators that sell sick chicks to the very folks who are trying to get away diseased factory food?

  • farmer

    It is simply amazing to me that they can track this back from 39 people getting sick over such a large area! We have the safest food of anywhere in the world thanks to the government tracking this sort of thing and improvements that have been made to our production/handling system.

  • mrothschild

    Farmer: In simple terms, this is how it works: Lab-confirmed Salmonella infections, by law, must be reported. The lab results are uploaded to PulseNet, the federal surveillance system monitored by CDC. When identical strains (as evidenced by the DNA fingerprints) of pathogens show up on PulseNet, the health authorities know there is an outbreak and investigators begin looking for the common source. PulseNet has only been in existence since 1995. I suspect a widespread outbreak like this one, linked to backyard poultry, might not even have been detected 15 or 20 years ago before PulseNet.

  • Mary Rothschild

    Farmer: In simple terms, this is how it works: Lab-confirmed Salmonella infections, by law, must be reported. The lab results are uploaded to PulseNet, the federal surveillance system monitored by CDC. When identical strains (as evidenced by the DNA fingerprints) of pathogens show up on PulseNet, the health authorities know there is an outbreak and investigators begin looking for the common source. PulseNet has only been in existence since 1995. I suspect a widespread outbreak like this one, linked to backyard poultry, might not even have been detected 15 or 20 years ago before PulseNet.