The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an alert stating that the agency is conducting an investigation over a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella, which has been linked to backyard poultry, specifically chickens and ducklings.
Furthermore, reports revealed that the outbreak had caused 768 infected people with two of whom died from severe Salmonella.
Based on interviews, researchers found that out of the 315 sick people, 75 percent said they’d recently been in contact with live poultry before discovering that they revealed symptoms of the disease.
So far, 122 people have been hospitalized across 48 states, and the two recorded deaths occurred in Ohio and Texas.
The CDC says more than 75 outbreaks of salmonella have been associated with backyard poultry since 2000.
While the CDC cannot publish conclusive reports regarding the connection of backyard poultry and Salmonella, the alert did more to remind people against the threat of contracting the disease and informing people about how they can avoid it.
Particularly, Salmonella germs can make people sick with regular symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps.
Backyard chickens and other poultry such as ducks and turkeys can carry germs like Salmonella. Even handling baby birds displayed at stores or exhibits can spread the bacteria to people.
The disease can be contracted upon touching the infected animal. It may be in their droppings and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks), even when they appear healthy and clean.
Furthermore, people can pick up Salmonella just by simply getting in contact in the area where birds live and roam such as its cages, coops, feed and water dishes, hay, plants, and soil. Germs also can get on the hands, shoes, and clothes of people who handle or care for poultry.
The worst part is, people can transmit the disease by getting in contact with others. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to be in contact with any poultry animal because people who do can easily transfer it to you by touch or on any surface, you are usually surrounded by.
In light of the situation, the CDC reminds people, especially those who are in regular contact with poultry animals to always wash their hands thoroughly afterward in order to protect themselves and others.
Notably, the CDC warned that children younger than 5 years are more likely to get sick because their immune systems are still developing, and they are more likely to put their fingers and other objects into their mouths. Meanwhile, adults aged 65 years and older are easily susceptible to the disease too.
The same goes to people with compromised immune systems due to a medical condition, such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and cancer or its treatment.
Salmonella infection can progress to become severe Salmonella and will immediately require medical assistance. Although there are medicines that will help extinguish the bacteria from the body, it is still not ideal for brushing it off.
The agency encourages to get in touch with a doctor if:
- Diarrhea that doesn’t improve after 1 day
- Vomiting lasting more than 12 hours for infants, 1 day for children younger than age 2, or 2 days for other children
- Signs of dehydration, including not urinating in 3 or more hours, dry mouth or tongue, or cries without tears
- Fever higher than 102˚F (39˚C)
- Bloody stools
Additionally, the CDC said that Salmonella is the cause for 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the US annually. Significantly, food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses.
The bacteria will also not choose who to infect. There were reports of infection found in people ages less than one-year-old to 99 years old, based from January 1, 2019, to July 6, 2019, with one-quarter of the illnesses reported are among children five years old or younger.
Just two months ago, the health agency implored Americans to not ‘kiss and snuggle’ chickens due to a salmonella outbreak.
CDC’s Salmonella website has more information about Salmonella infections and the signs of a severe infection.
Meanwhile, there’s also a separate investigation regarding Salmonella being linked to contact with pig ear dog treats with Pet Supplies Plus were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration on July 3; citing that bulk pig ears stocked in open bins might be contaminated with Salmonella.