This year saw the largest number of illnesses linked to contact with backyard poultry ever recorded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Contact with live poultry or their environment can make people sick with Salmonella infections. Live poultry such as chickens and ducks can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean, with no sign of illness.
As raising backyard flocks becomes more popular, more people are having contact with chickens and ducks – and may not know about the risk of Salmonella infection.
These outbreaks are a reminder to follow steps to keep your family healthy while enjoying your backyard flock.
Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.
Adults should supervise handwashing for children.
Do not let live poultry inside the house.
Do not let children younger than 5 years handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without adult supervision.
In 2017, CDC and multiple states investigated 10 separate multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections in people who had contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.
The outbreak strains of Salmonella infected a reported 1120 people in 48 states and the District of Columbia
Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2017 to September 22, 2017.
Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings linked the 10 outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries.
In interviews, 542 (70%) of 774 ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before illness started.
The outbreaks were caused by Salmonella bacteria with several DNA fingerprints : Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella I 4,,12:i-, Salmonella Indiana, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Litchfield, Salmonella Mbandaka, Salmonella Muenchen, and Salmonella Typhimurium.
Multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry in backyard flocks, 2017 (final update)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention