(RxWiki News) Hundreds of people across the United States have become sick with Salmonella after contact with backyard poultry.
Health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in multiple states are investigating outbreaks of Salmonella. These outbreaks had sickened 474 people as of publication time. Of those, 103 had been hospitalized and one had died.
The CDC first reported the Salmonella outbreak tied to backyard poultry like chickens and ducks in late May of this year. In just over a month, the number of people who had become sick nearly tripled. And the outbreaks had spread to 46 US states.
Because many people recover from Salmonella without requiring medical care, the actual number of people who have become sick in these outbreaks is likely higher than reported, according to the CDC.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that usually lasts for between four and seven days. While most people get better without medical treatment, some have to be hospitalized. Serious illness is more common in the very old, very young and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever and chills.
In the current outbreaks, more than one-third of those who have become sick have been children younger than 5, according to the CDC. Interviews with people who have become sick revealed that most had recent contact with backyard poultry.
Poultry like chickens and ducks can carry Salmonella without appearing sick. The CDC recommended the following precautions to keep yourself healthy:
- Don't snuggle or kiss poultry.
- Don't let young children touch poultry or anything in the animals' living space.
- Keep poultry and supplies outside.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching poultry, coops or related items.
The CDC said it would release more information as it becomes available.
If you are experiencing a high fever, persistent diarrhea, bloody stool, dehydration or vomiting so severe that you cannot keep fluids down, seek immediate medical care. If you believe you have been exposed to Salmonella, contact your health care provider for guidance.