Don’t kiss, snuggle backyard poultry amid Salmonella outbreak: CDC


An Ybor City chicken looks for food with her chicks Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. The wild chicken population in Ybor City are direct descendants of the chickens that lived in the backyards of the neighborhoods earliest residents more than 100 years ago. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

(ABC4) – Have some backyard poultry? Health officials are asking that you don’t kiss or snuggle it as Salmonella outbreak strikes in 43 states.

Even if your backyard chicken and ducks look healthy and clean, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they can cary Salmonella germs. Those germs can spread easily to anything in the area where the poultry live and roam.

That means you can get sick from touching your backyard poultry, or anything they touch, and then touching your mouth or food.

In total, 43 states, including Utah, are seeing Salmonella cases. There have been 163 reports of illness and 34 hospitalizations as a result. The CDC is now investigating.

If you have a backyard flock, the CDC says you should:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching your backyard chickens or ducks, their eggs, or anything in their area. If you don’t have soap and water nearby, hand sanitizer can be used.
  • Be safe around backyard flocks. Do not kiss or snuggle your poultry, and do not eat or drink around them. Keep your flock and supplies used to care for them outside of your home.
  • Supervise kids around flocks. Make sure children wash their hands properly after being around poultry, and don’t let children younger than five touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry.
  • Handle eggs safely – collect them often, and throw away cracked eggs. Make sure to rub off dirt on eggs with sandpaper, a brush, or cloth. Do not wash them as cold water can pull germs into the egg. Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm, and cook egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill all germs.

The CDC says you should call your healthcare provider right away if you experience any of these severe symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Not urinating (peeing) much
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Feeling dizzy when standing up

For more details on the Salmonella outbreak connected to backyard poultry, visit the CDC.

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