The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning people of the risks of Salmonella infection associated with contact with live poultry. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from January 2017 through May 25, 2017, 372 ill persons in 47 states have been infected with several Salmonella strains that have been linked to live poultry contact; 36% are children younger than 5 years old. Seventy-one ill persons have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Infected persons include 21 California residents from 15 counties.
Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and usually begin 12 to 72 hours after a person has been infected. Most infected people recover within a week without treatment. However, some people may have severe illness that requires hospitalization. Young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe illness.
Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks.
Live poultry, especially baby chicks and ducklings, may have Salmonella in their feces and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean, which can get on the hands, shoes, and clothing of people who handle or care for the birds. Salmonella can get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, bedding, plants, and soil in the area where the birds live and roam.
If you have contact with live poultry:
- Always wash hands with soap and water after handling live poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
- Prevent live chickens, ducks, and geese from coming into the house.
- Do not allow children younger than 5 years to handle or touch live poultry and eggs without supervision and subsequent handwashing.
- Do not snuggle or kiss the birds.
- Do not touch your mouth, or eat or drink while near live poultry.
- Visit the CDC’s Keeping Backyard Poultry webpage.
For more information about the national investigations, click here.