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More Salmonella Cases Linked to Chicks and Ducklings

The number of people sickened by Salmonella traced to chicks and ducklings from an Ohio mail order hatchery has risen from 123 to 163, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The illnesses – linked to contact with live baby poultry sold by Mt. Hatchery of Cincinnati, OH – began in March of this year. Three strains of Salmonella – Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Lille and Salmonella Newport – have been associated with animals from the hatchery.

The 20 new cases reported since CDC’s last update on July 12 occurred in 10 states, including Illinois (2), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (2), New York (5), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Vermont (1) and West Virginia (3).

Case totals in the 26 states affected by the outbreak are as follows:Alabama (4), Arizona (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (3), Indiana (3), Kansas (1), Kentucky (5), Louisiana (1), Maine (4), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (2), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (21), North Carolina (15), Ohio (39), Pennsylvania (13), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (11), Texas (2), Vermont (2), Virginia (9), and West Virginia (10).

Of the 163 people sickened in these outbreaks, 33 percent have been hospitalized. Two outbreak victims – one in Maryland and one in New York – have died, but it is unclear whether their deaths were a result of Salmonella infection or due to other causes.

Over one third (34 percent) of those sickened are children aged 10 or younger.

Mt. Healthy Hatchery is the same company that was linked to illnesses from Salmonella Altona and Salmonella Johannesburg in 2011. Those joint outbreaks sickened at least 96 people.

Veterinarians from the Ohio Department of Health visited the hatchery in May of 2012 and made recommendations for safety improvement.

The 3 outbreaks currently linked to the hatchery were still causing illnesses as of July 31, 2012. Illnesses that began after July 21, 2012 may not have been counted yet due to the time delay between an illnesses’ onset and the time it is reported, notes CDC.

The agency offers the following recommendations to consumers to help avoid Salmonella infection when handling live baby poultry:

– 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.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can appear anywhere from 6 hours to several days after exposure, and include fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, headache and body aches.

If you think you may have contracted a Salmonella infection, contact your healthcare provider.

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