-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Just in time for Easter,
health officials are issuing another cautionary tale about the
dangers of salmonella infection from chicks and ducklings.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has
published findings on an outbreak linked to backyard flocks of
young chickens and ducks bought from a mail-order hatchery in Ohio
that caused a multistate salmonella outbreak between March and
September of last year.
The outbreak involved "the largest number of human illnesses
ever linked to contact with live poultry during a single outbreak,"
the CDC said in the March 22 issue of its journal
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Overall, 195 people across 27 states were infected during the
outbreak, which involved three salmonella strains. Eighty-seven
percent of infected people for whom purchasing information was
available bought chicks or ducklings from a single mail-order
hatchery in Ohio, which has been linked to other salmonella
The outbreak "underscores the ongoing risk for human
salmonellosis linked to backyard flocks," said a team that included
the CDC's Jennifer Mitchell.
Preventing these infections requires an integrated approach
involving hatcheries, feed stores and consumers, the study authors
added. Even casual contact in stores can pass on salmonella, so
"feed stores should use physical barriers (e.g., a wall or fence)
between customers and poultry displays to prevent direct contact
with poultry," the CDC said.
The study authors said people need to be aware that live
poultry, including chicks and ducklings, are sources of salmonella
infections, which can cause serious illness in young children,
older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
To prevent infections, people must wash their hands thoroughly
with soap and water immediately after touching live poultry or
anything in the area where poultry live and roam, the report
Chicks and ducklings aren't the only small animals linked to
salmonella. Previous reports from the CDC have cited lizards,
turtles and hamsters in outbreaks of the serious gastrointestinal
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
live baby poultry and salmonella infections.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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