Infected chicks and ducklings have sickened 71 people — more than half of them younger than 5 — in a growing multistate outbreak of Salmonella that now involves two different strains of the bacteria.
In an update on the outbreak tied to backyard poultry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that the number of Salmonella Altona infections is now up to 49 cases in 16 states, while another 22 people in 12 states have been infected with Salmonella Johannesburg.
Eighteen people have been hospitalized with severe diarrhea.
Most of those who are ill, or whose children are ill, reported buying the live poultry for either backyard flocks to produce eggs or as pets.
Traceback investigations have indicated that the chicks and ducklings were purchased from multiple locations of a national company, Feed Store Chain A, which says it obtained the poultry from the Ohio-based Mt. Healthy Hatchery.
More than half of the 71 people are younger than 5 years of age.
Here’s the breakdown on the number of illnesses by state:
As of June 27, a total of 49 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Altona: Georgia (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (5), Maryland (4), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (1), New York (2), North Carolina (8), Ohio (9), Pennsylvania (5), Tennessee (3), Virginia (4), Vermont (1), Wisconsin (1), and West Virginia (2).
As of June 27, a total of 22 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Johannesburg: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Georgia (2), Kentucky (2), Maine (1), New York (3), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), Tennessee (2), Vermont (2), and West Virginia (1).
Salmonellosis causes diarrhea, fever and painful abdominal cramps. Children are most likely to contract it, and young children are among the most likely to have severe infections.
In its update on the outbreak, the CDC once again reminded people that poultry can carry disease and that people handling chicks and ducklings need to take common sense precautions:
— 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.