Hundreds have been sickened with salmonella in recent weeks due to the presence of backyard poultry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.
According to CDC statistics, 227 have been sickened since May 16 by chickens and ducks being raised in backyard flocks. Overall, 279 people have reported salmonella illnesses this year from backyard poultry.
The CDC says that many of those who reported an illness got their chicks or ducklings from agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries. Nearly one-third of those sickened are younger than age 5.
Of the 279 reported cases of salmonella, 40 have caused hospitalization. The CDC added that there has not been any reported fatalities.
The CDC offers the following advice to the public:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching poultry or anything in their environment. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not immediately available.
- Do not let backyard poultry inside the house, including in bathrooms. Be especially careful to keep them out of areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens and outdoor patios.
- Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of your birds and keep those outside of your home.
- Children younger than 5, adults over 65, and people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry.
- Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
- Don’t kiss backyard poultry, or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.
- Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers.
The CDC says that salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. The illness typically goes away after one week without any treatment.