Backyard chickens and other poultry continue to sicken people with Salmonella infections with the confirmed patient count now at 863. More than a fourth of those who have been infected are children younger than 5 years old. Two people have died.

The sick people are spread across 47 states and the District of Columbia, according to the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illnesses started on dates ranging from Dec. 15, 2020, to August 8, 2021.

Health officials say there are likely many more people who have been infected but did not seek medical attention or tests to confirm that they are part of the outbreak.

Age information is available for 860 patients. Their ages range from less than 1 to 97 years old, with a median age of 36 years old. Of the confirmed patients, and 220 — 26 percent — are young children less than 5 years old. Of 842 people with the information available, 493 are female. 

Of 617 people with information available, 203 — 33 percent — have been hospitalized. Two deaths have been reported, one from Indiana and one from Virginia, according to the CDC.

“The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak,” according to the CDC’s outbreak update.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the animals they came into contact with the week before they got sick. Of the 527 people interviewed, 365 reported contact with backyard poultry before getting sick.

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