As of Sept. 23, 344 people in 42 states and Puerto Rico have been sickened by one of three outbreak strains of Salmonella linked to contact with live poultry, according to the latest update released Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No deaths have been reported, although 32 percent of those who became ill between February and August of this year have been hospitalized, CDC noted. Since the agency’s last update on Aug. 8, 44 new ill persons have been reported from Alabama (1), Arizona (1), Connecticut (1), Georgia (1),  Illinois (1), Iowa (2), Kansas (1), Kentucky (3), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (1), New York (4), North Carolina (4), Ohio (6),  Pennsylvania (4), South Carolina (3), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (2), Texas (1), Utah (1), Washington (1) and Wisconsin (1). Among persons who reported the date they became ill, illnesses began between Feb. 3, 2014, and Aug. 23, 2014. Ill persons range in age from younger than 1 year to 95 years, with the median age being 32 years. Thirty-three percent of ill persons are 10 years of age or younger. Fifty-four percent of ill persons are female. Among 224 ill persons with available information, 71 have been hospitalized. CDC stated that related illnesses occurring after Aug. 24 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported, which, on average, takes two to four weeks. The outbreak strains, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hadar, have been linked through epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback findings to contact with chicks, ducklings and other live poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Cincinnati, OH. Mt. Healthy Hatcheries has posted a statement about the outbreak, noting that it has suspended business relationships with its largest outside supplier of eggs and chicks while the Salmonella investigation continues. “It is important to note that although some CDC data suggests a link to chicks from our hatcheries, the vast majority of chicks we ship are not associated with this outbreak. Mt. Healthy Hatcheries ships thousands of chicks each week to customers, and our commitment is to provide safe, healthy chicks at all times,” the statement reads. The company also stated that it has implemented specific interventions to mitigate the exposure to all Salmonella on its chicks and on its hatchery operations and has adopted best management practices for poultry hatcheries. CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory tested Salmonella isolates collected from 11 people infected with either Salmonella Infantis or Salmonella Newport. Of those isolates tested, two were drug-resistant (defined as resistant to one or more antibiotics) and nine were pansusceptible (susceptible to all antibiotics tested). CDC warns people who keep live poultry to take steps to protect themselves from Salmonella infection. This advice includes always washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching live poultry or anything in the areas where the birds live and roam and not allowing live poultry inside your home.