Live Poultry Behind Third Salmonella Outbreak

For the third time this year, CDC is reporting a new outbreak of Salmonella illnesses linked to a mail-order hatchery.

Baby poultry from an Idaho mail-order hatchery has been implicated in an eleven-state outbreak of Salmonella Hadar that has infected 37 people and sent eight to hospital. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of the victims are children under the age of ten. At the request of the state of Idaho, the identity of the hatchery – referred to simply as Hatchery B in the CDC investigation update – has not been released.

According to CDC, 37 people developed symptoms of salmonellosis between March 19th and July 6th, 2012. Among the 27 people who were interviewed, 24 (89%) reported having contact with live poultry (chicks, ducklings or turkeys) prior to becoming ill.

Outbreak victims are from Arizona (2), California (1), Colorado (3), Idaho (5), Illinois (2), Oregon (5), Tennessee (2), Texas (1), Utah (5), Washington (9), and Wyoming (2). The youngest victim was less than one year old; the eldest was 69.

Although the hatching season has ended for the year, live poultry from Hatchery B may be in backyard flocks for long periods. Apparently healthy birds can still shed Salmonella.

CDC offers the following Advice to Consumers:

Contact with live poultry can be a source of human Salmonella infections. Live poultry can be carrying Salmonella but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness. Therefore, you should always follow these recommendations for protecting yourself and others from contact with live poultry:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.
  • Do not let children younger than 5 years of age, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
  • Do not let live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.
  • Do not snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live poultry.

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