The long-running multistate Salmonella outbreak tied to live poultry now appears to be over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, 195 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, and Salmonella Lille were reported from 27 states, including two deaths.
The CDC issued a final outbreak update with the total count of cases reported from each state: Alabama (4), Arizona (1), Arkansas (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (4), Indiana (6), Kansas (1), Kentucky (11), Louisiana (1), Maryland (5), Maine (4), Massachusetts (7), Michigan (2), North Carolina (15), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (5), New York (23), Ohio (42), Pennsylvania (16), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (11), Texas (2), Virginia (9), Vermont (3), and West Virginia (11).
The illnesses began surfacing last March.
Of the known cases, 34 percent of those ill were hospitalized and 33 percent of those ill were children 10 years of age or younger. Two deaths were reported, but CDC did not note the ages of the victims.
“Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to contact with live poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio,” noted CDC in the final update. “Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others that sell or display chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.”
The outbreak update notes that while this particular outbreak appears to be over, Salmonella remains a significant cause of human illness in the United States.
“Because contact with any live poultry can be a source of human Salmonella infections, you should know how to protect yourself and your family from illness,” advised CDC. The agency recommends families be aware of the risk of Salmonella — this includes not cuddling or kissing the birds, to prevent cross contamination.
Those handling live poultry should always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam. Adults should also ensure young children are adequately washing their hands after contact with 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. Anyone concerned they may have a Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider.
CDC has a page with advice to consumers on handling live poultry here.