For the third year in a row, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating an outbreak of salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry such as chickens and ducks. A total of 219 people have been infected across 38 states resulting in 27 hospitalizations and one death.
These outbreaks can occur annually and often coincide with the increase in the number of chicks purchased beginning in the spring, according to the CDC.
Last year, a total of 1,135 people got sick from contact with chickens and ducks in their backyards. These infections are not related to recent cases of H5N1 bird flu viruses detected in wild birds and poultry. However, poultry owners should be aware that the steps needed to stay healthy around their flocks are similar for both diseases, the CDC said.
So far, this year’s documented infections occurred between Feb. 15 and May 19. Sick people range in age from under 1 year old to 89, with a median age of 29 years. However, about 1 in 4 sick people are children under 5 years old.
The CDC believes the true number of infections is likely higher than the total reported because people are not regularly tested for salmonella and many who are infected recover without medical care. It takes up to four weeks for health officials to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.